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What is cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a skin infection caused by bacteria.

What increases my risk for cellulitis?

Cellulitis can happen in people with no risk factors at all however these things increase the risk of developing cellulitis.

  • A previous episode of cellulitis
  • Having a current leg ulcer or lymphedema
  • Any break in the skin, such as a bite, scratch, or cut also having surgery to the limb
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Having athlete’s foot or another viral infection such as chickenpox
  • Chronic skin conditions such as eczema
  • Swollen legs filled with fluid
  • Injecting drugs
  • A weak immune system

What are the signs and symptoms of cellulitis?

  • Fever and feeling weak or unwell
  • A red, warm, swollen area on your skin
  • Pain when the area is touched
  • These symptoms commonly worsen, and the redness may expand over the course of hours or days. The onset of cellulitis may be gradual or sudden. Itching is not a typical symptom of cellulitis. The skin is usually smooth and shiny rather than raised or bumpy. However, occasionally in cases of cellulitis, blisters or small pimples may form in the skin.
  • Abscesses that may drain pus
Difference in red leg syndrome and cellulitis - Red leg syndrome usually affects both  legs and cellulitis is commonly only in one leg at once. Red leg syndrome is very common with venous insufficiency and with sweeling / oedema to legs. It has a red / pink discolouration to the mid part of the lower leg; it may feel warm and tender but not painful. It is an inflammation of the skin and tissues and may result in eczema or dermatitis. Antibiotics are not needed for red leg syndrome, but you may need some topical treatment if your skin becomes sore and inflamed.