Cellulitis is an infection of the body which starts with a small tender area on the skin, along with redness and swelling. This red area begins to spread and the person develops a fever with sweats and chills, as well as, swollen lymph nodes.
Cellulitis must not be confused with impetigo, which is a superficial infection of the skin. It involves deep layers of the skin like the subcutaneous tissue and the dermis. The condition is caused mostly by Staph (Staphylococcus) or Strep (Streptococcus) bacteria. Other bacteria may also be involved. Sometimes it may manifest in an area where there is a rupture in the skin like the skin near ulcers and surgical wounds. It may be treated with oral or intravenous antibiotics. It is not contagious.
Causes of Cellulitis:
The main causes of cellulitis are:
Staph is the most common bacteria causing cellulitis.
Streph is the number two cause agent of cellulitis.
Hemophilus Influenzae bacteria affect kids under the age of 6 and causes cellulitis of the upper torso, face, and arms.
Pasteurella multocida bacteria cause cellulitis via dog or cat bite with an incubating period of 4-24 hours.
Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae cause cellulitis after a bite from a shellfish, or a saltwater fish. Injury while working with pigs or poultry can also cause cellulitis by the same bacteria.
The most common place for cellulitis to occur is lower leg where bacteria enter through cuts, surgery, puncture wounds, athlete’s foot, ulcer or dermatitis.
Insect or spider bites.
Some risk factors causing cellulitis are:
Injury: Cut, burn, fracture or scrape
Weakened immune system: conditions causing a drop in immunity like Diabetes, HIV/AIDS, chronic Leukemia, Kidney and liver disease and use of medicines like corticosteroids.
Skin condition: Skin injury occurs due to conditions like eczema, chickenpox, shingles, athlete’s foot etc.
Lymphedema or chronic swelling of legs and arms
Previous history of cellulitis
Intravenous use of illicit drugs
Signs and Symptoms of Cellulitis:
Some of the symptoms of cellulitis are:
Blebs and bullae appear on the skin (advanced stage). They are eruptions containing fluid.
The key factor for the doctor is to determine whether the inflammation is due to an infection or not. The previous history of cellulitis, as well as, a physical exam will do for this. A blood test will reveal any decreased count of WBC’s. A culture of bacteria may also be useful, but this is not a reliable indicator. A treatment with antibiotics is also a test whether the condition is caused by bacterial infection.
Treatment of Cellulitis:
Homeopathy is highly effective. It boosts the immune system and reduces rashes and swelling. Blebs and bullae can be removed easily. Homeopathy treats patients on a case by case basis. It studies medical history of the patient, his mental, emotional, and physical state. It arrives at a remedy that is highly individualistic and suiting the constitution of the patient. Medicines are safe and can be used under the strict guidance of a homeopathic doctor. Not to forget, cellulitis can be prevented by treating swelling or edema, proper hygiene, and care of cuts and wounds.