DefinitionCellulitis is an infection of the skin and tissue just below the skin. The infection may occur anywhere on the body. It is most common on the lower legs.
CausesCellulitis is caused by a bacterial infection. It may come from bacteria that normally lives on the skin or bacteria from other sources. The bacteria enter the skin through a cut or injury. The infection spreads into the surrounding skin.
Risk FactorsFactors that may increase the risk of cellulitis include:
- A minor injury to the skin such as, a cut, scratch, blister , burn , puncture, or bite
- Injuries that occur in natural bodies of water
- A cut or abrasion
- Bacteria that enter the body through surgical wounds or a catheter in a vein
- Having certain conditions such as diabetes, HIV , kidney or liver disease, or poor circulation
- Abusing alcohol or drugs
- Taking steroids on a regular basis
- Undergoing surgery
- Retaining fluids
- A fungal infection of the foot
- Handling certain foods, like raw fish, meat, shellfish, poultry, and eggs
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SymptomsSymptoms may begin within hours or days and can include:
- Skin inflammation that begins in a small area and spreads with:
- Pain or tenderness
- A red streak
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Fever or chills
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