Cellulitis is an infection caused by the Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacteria. It normally starts at the site of wounds but can appear anywhere in the skin. Previous bruises and cuts or insect bite wounds can trigger cellulitis. Generally, adults are infected in the lower legs and suffer from leg cellulitis, but infections have known to be found in arms and occasionally in the face too. Sometimes an already-existing infection like athlete’s foot can also lead to leg cellulitis.
The infection starts with redness in the skin and swelling of the affected area. As it progresses, the affected site tends to become warm and soft or tender. Occasionally some develop fever and chills. In some cases, nausea and hardening of affected area have also been noticed.
If the infection is mild the following home remedy can be useful to reduce pain
- Using a warm compress once or twice with a clean piece of cloth
- Soaking the infected area in lukewarm water
- Avoiding any chemicals to come in contact with the affected area
- Wearing comfortable and loose attire to avoid the irritation that comes due to contact with the infection
Also if the infection is mild, the physician will recommend oral antibiotics for a course of 3 to 10 days depending on the intensity of infection. Once the medication is given, improvement will be seen in 1 or 2 days. If there are no signs of improvement, it is best to see the doctor again without any further adieu. Hospitalization and cellulitis treatment might become necessary. If left untreated, the infection is likely to spread to the lymph nodes of the skin and the bloodstream. Also, an unchecked infection can cause sepsis.
If the patient does not respond to antibiotics and continues to have a fever, intravenous antibiotics will be administered in a hospital setting. Penicillin has been found to be the most commonly used and effective treatment for leg cellulitis. If the patient is obese or has high blood pressure, it is likely that the treatment might take longer. Patients are also taught to manage their wounds and take painkillers along with antibiotics.
In all cases, the cellulitis treatment of the patient is based on the location, level of the infection, and the general health of the patient