Adult cellulitis is simply a bacterial infection affecting the skin and deep tissues. It typically develops in the legs but can arise in any part of the body.
An individual with a sore, wound, insect bite, scrape or any type of open wound can develop cellulitis. Sustaining injuries in the water or dirty areas can put one at higher risk for the infection.
- Fragile skin
- Skin infections such as scabies, impetigo or athlete’s foot
- Cat or dog bite
- Skin inflammation such as eczema
- Edema in the legs or arms
- Skin ulcers
- Exposure to MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus)
- Using injectable prohibited drugs
In some individuals, especially those with a deteriorated immune system from certain ailments or diabetes can end up with cellulitis without any sore or wound. The elderly and those with poor circulation are also at higher risk.
Indications of cellulitis
An individual with cellulitis might notice symptoms in the affected region before he/she starts to feel sick. The usual indications are pain, redness and tenderness in the area as the body attempts to drive out the infection. Other possible symptoms that might arise include:
- Swollen skin
- Fluid-filled blisters
- Skin is warm to the touch
- Skin has a “pitted” appearance
- Increased pulse rate
- Drainage from the skin
- Swollen lymph nodes close to the affected area
In most cases, cellulitis is managed by using antibiotics such as cephalexin or dicloxacillin. These medications can be taken orally.
As for serious cases, the doctor might prescribe intravenous antibiotics. This is usually the approach for individuals suffering for high fever.
The application of a warm compress or cool dressing can help minimize the symptoms and irritation. In addition, elevating the affected areas can also help reduce the swelling.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on adult cellulitis is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage skin infections, register for a first aid and CPR course with Ottawa First Aid.