Patient discussion about cellulitis

!!! The questions and answers on this page are written by patients and are not reviewed by health professionals.

Q. What is Cellulitis?

I am a bit overweight and have cellulite, does this mean I have Cellulitis?
A1Cellulite is a dimpled appearance to your skin. It is harmless. Whereas, Cellulitis is a common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection. Cellulitis appears as a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot and tender, and it may spread rapidly. Skin on lower legs is most commonly affected, though cellulitis can occur anywhere on your body or face. Cellulitis canalso affect tissues underlying the skin and can spread to the lymph nodes and bloodstream. If it is left untreated, it can spread and become life-threatening.
A2Cellulite is a condition that occurs in men and women where the skin of the lower half of the body of becomes dimpled after puberty. Cellulite is not related to Cellulitis which is an infection of the skin and its underlying connective tissue.

Q. How to treat cellulitis?

My Mother is 73 and has been diagnosed with cellulitis on her leg. She is in a lot of pain. What is the most effective treatment for it?
A1Here is a movie with tips on managing cellulitis:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1_3NzwgsgY
A2Cellulitis is usually treated with a prescription oral antibiotic. In most cases, signs and symptoms of cellulitis disappear after a few days. If they don't clear up, if they're extensive or if she has a high fever, she may need to be hospitalized and receive antibiotics through her veins (intravenously).
Usually, doctors prescribe a drug that's effective against both streptococci and staphylococci.

Q. Is Diabetes a risk factor for developing cellulitis?

I am 50 years old and have type 2 diabetes. Is it true that diabetes can cause cellulitis? if so, what can be done to prevent it?
A1To help prevent cellulitis and other infections, follow these measures anytime you have a skin wound:
Wash your wound daily with soap and water.
Apply an antibiotic cream or ointment. Cover your wound with a bandage. Change bandages often. Change them at least daily or whenever the bandage becomes wet or dirty.
Watch for signs of infection. Redness, pain and drainage all signal possible infection and the need for medical evaluation.
People with diabetes and those with poor circulation need to take extra precautions to prevent skin wounds and treat any cuts or cracks in the skin promptly. Good skin-care measures include the following:
Moisturize your skin regularly.
Trim your fingernails and toenails carefully.
Protect your hands and feet. Promptly treat any superficial skin infections, such as athlete's foot.
A2Several factors can place you at greater risk of developing cellulitis:
Age- as you age, your circulatory system becomes less effective at delivering blood, with its infection, fighting white blood cells to some areas of your body. As a result, skin abrasions may lead to infections where your circulation is poor.
Weakened immune system, illnesses that result in a weakening of your immune system, Diabetes- it impairs your immune system and increases your risk of infection, including your skin and therefore is suseptable to cellulitis.
Chickenpox and shingles- since they cause broken blisters on the skin that can serve as potential entry points for bacterial invasion and infection.
Chronic swelling of your arms or legs (lymphedema),
Chronic fungal infection of your feet or toes and Intravenous drug use.
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