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What is cellulitis?

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Quick Answer

Cellulitis is a generalized infection of the dermis or subcutaneous tissue, according to the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics. It is commonly caused by staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria. The symptoms of cellulitis include redness and swelling of the affected area. Localized pain, warmth and tenderness are also present.

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What is cellulitis?
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Full Answer

Cellulitis results from the entry of bacteria into the body through open wounds, surgical incisions, bruises or burns, explains WebMD. Cellulitis is commonly caused by normal skin flora, but it can also be caused by a variety of exogenous bacteria. Individuals who have skin disorders, diabetes or peripheral vascular disease are at a higher risk of developing a cellulitis infection.

Aside from local symptoms, cellulitis can also be accompanied by chills and fever, states WebMD. Other systemic symptoms include muscle aches, nausea and vomiting. Patients who experience high-grade fever or increased pain are advised to seek immediate medical attention.

Oral antibiotics are the first line of treatment for cellulitis, according to MedlinePlus.com. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are also prescribed as needed. Patients with cellulitis are advised to elevate the affected area to help decrease swelling and alleviate pain. Increased intake of vitamins C and E is also recommended to help boost the immune system and regenerate the skin, states University of Maryland Medical Center.

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