What is cellulitis?
Cellulitis is a type of bacterial infection that can quickly become serious. It affects your skin, causing inflammation, redness, and pain.
This type of infection occurs when bacteria enters your body through broken skin. It can affect any part of the body, but it’s most common on the lower legs. This is because the lower legs tend to be most susceptible to scrapes and cuts.
Several types of cuts and injuries can allow cellulitis-causing bacteria into the body, including:
- Surgical incisions
- Puncture wounds
- Skin rashes, such as severe eczema
- Animal bites
A cellulitis infection can spread to your bloodstream, which can quickly become life-threatening. This is why it’s best to see a doctor as soon as possible if you think you might have cellulitis.
You shouldn’t try to treat cellulitis at home, but there are a few things you can do on your own as you recover from a cellulitis infection.
How do I know if it’s cellulitis?
Cellulitis tends to progress quickly, so early identification is key. At first, you might just feel some pain and tenderness.
But over the course of a few hours, you may start to notice:
- Skin that’s warm to the touch
- Skin dimpling
- Growing area of redness
You can monitor the progression of your infection by circling the red area with a pen. This will help you see how much it’s spread within a period of time. If it’s growing, it’s time to head to the doctor. You should also seek immediate treatment if you develop any flu-like symptoms, including a fever or chills.