This bacteria infects the deep layer of the skin- Streptococci

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Cellulitis is acute bacterial infection of the dermis (the deep layer of skin as well as the subcutaneous tissues (fat and soft tissue layer) that are under the skin.  Bacteria are present on the skin and are generally harmless. However, if they go deep into the skin they can cause infection. They generally get in through cuts, grazes or bites. People with eczema or psoriasis have a higher risk of bacteria getting into the skin.

Causes

Mainly caused by Streptococci or staphylococci bacteria. Streptococci and staphylococci groups are commonly found on the surface of the skin and cause no harm – but if they get under the skin they can. For the bacteria to get in they need a route – a break in the skin caused by:

An ulcer

A burn

A bite

A graze

A cut

Some skin conditions, such as eczema, athlete’s foot, or psoriasis

The bacteria may also enter by some other route, such as through the blood or lymphatic system. This is most likely if no potential entry route can be identified on the skin of the patient.

Symptoms

The symptoms may appear in any part of the body; however, the legs are most commonly affected. The affected area will become:

Warm

Tender/ inflamed

Swollen

Red

Painful

Blisters

Fever

Chills

Nausea

Swollen lymph glands

Risk factors

Obesity

Weakened immune system – such as patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, those with AIDS/HIV, and very elderly people

Diabetes

Blood circulation disorder

Chickenpox and shingles

Lymphodema

Pregnancy

Diagnosis

The doctor will examine the patient and assess the symptoms. He/she may take a swab (sample) if there is an open wound. This will help him/her find out what type of bacteria it is.

Complications

Blood poisoning

An abscess) forming in the infected area.

Muscle or bone infections w

A cellulitis around an eye can spread to infect the brain.

Bacteria that get into the bloodstream can cause an infection of the heart valves.

Damage to the lymph drainage

Treatment

Medications: antibiotics drugs and intravenous antibiotic treatment.

Raising (elevating) the affected body part uses gravity to help prevent excess swelling, which may also ease pain.

Exercise to aid circulation

Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease pain and reduce high temperature (fever).

Moisturiser cream

Consume plenty of fluids to help prevent lack of fluid in the body

Take tetanus booster vaccination

Prevention

You may not completely prevent it; however, to reduce your risk of developing cellulitis, you make follow these options:

Clean any cuts or wounds that you may have.

Avoid dry skin

Avoid skin scratching

 



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