Cellulitis Of The Legs
Cellulitis is an infection localized on the skin and tissues underneath it. The disease can appear almost anywhere from legs to breast or face, symptoms being similar, presenting although small differences, depending on the place.
Cellulitis of the legs is mainly characterized by pain, swelling, warmth and redness. It is one of the most frequent types of cellulitis, also known as "cellulitis of the extremities".
Cellulitis of the legs Causes
The causes of this ailment are bacteria like group A of streptococcus ( found on the skin and in the throat) or staphylococcus aureus (on the mouth and nose mucosa and skin). They usually enter the skin through cuts, animal bites, wounds or other infections of the skin. Surgical interventions, as well, can trigger the appearance of such a disease, if the post-op hygiene was not proper enough.
Children, on the other hand, were very exposed to cellulitis, in the past, because of the Haemophilus influenzae type B, a bacterium causing significant infections. After the vaccine appeared, HiB wasn't anymore a threat for children and parents in the same time.
Cellulitis of the legs pictures
Cellulitis of the legs affects more frequently certain patients who are exposed to some risks factors, than those who aren't. Different diseases of the lymphatic system, breaks in the skin, vein problems are some of them. Swelling of the legs or obesity can generally be named as risk factors for all types of cellulitis.
On the other hand, there are also specific risk factors, like:
Note that if you think you are some how exposed to any of these risk factors, you should discuss all of them with your doctor.
Symptoms of cellulitis of the legs
There are two categories of symptoms of cellulitis of the legs: systemic and local symptoms. The most important systemic symptoms are chills, fever, fatigue and muscle aches, localized either on the first or second part of the legs. On the affected area redness can appear, accompanied by warm and pain to the touch, as well as swelling. Another symptom might be a red streak mark on the leg or a swollen lymph node.
In order to establish a diagnosis for cellulitis of the legs, the doctor will have to find out the patient medical history and to examine the affected limb/limbs. If the skin has another temperature than the usual one, another color or has swollen areas, the examined person might have cellulitis. To confirm the hypothesis, he or she will look carefully to find bruises, ulcers, cuts or scrapes that might have facilitated the entrance of bacteria to the profound layers of the skin. If the doctor considers necessary, blood tests will be done.
How to treat cellulitis of the legs?
First of all, the treatment for all types of cellulitis includes antibiotics. They can be prescribed orally or IV, depending on the severity of the case. Another key point of the treatment is to prevent further recurrence of the disease. Be careful to tell your doctor if you are allergic to penicillin or any other sort of antibiotics, so that you can avoid unpleasant events. In order to improve the results of medication, the affected leg should be kept elevated to help the blood circulation. Useful can be cold compresses too, because they are able to reduce the pain.
The risk for a cellulitis of the legs to become recurrent is about 50%. In this case, the doctor will certainly prescribe antibiotics again, but for a longer period, this time, until the infection disappears.