Cellulitis is a skin condition which, in its initial stages, does not exhibit very distinctive or alarming symptoms. This is why, even as it is far more severe and dangerous than several epidermal disorders, cellulitis symptoms do not receive medical attention very promptly.
The reason for this ignorance is simple. Cellulitis is caused by the action of bacteria upon the dermis and the subcutaneous tissues which form the deeper layers of skin. Since it does not originate in the superficial skin layers, its symptoms are not as ostensibly severe as some other skin conditions. Moreover, the symptoms are somewhat generic and can be mistaken for a mild allergy or less potent skin disorders.
It is then very important to be well aware of the signs and symptoms of a disease of insidious action. Cellulitis needs to be diagnosed as soon as possible or there can be several grave repercussions which affect the bodily whole.
These are those symptoms that are common to almost all individuals who contract cellulitis.
- An unprecedented redness or swelling begins to appear on a specific region of the skin. Many a times, it is either of the legs that get afflicted, but cellulitis could occur at any site on the body.
- Tenderness and pain in the affected area is also commonly experienced.
- The redness is often accompanied by the appearance of rash-like blisters. Also, the skin looks glossy and stretched, in a deep pink shade; different than one’s natural complexion.
- One of the most telling signs of cellulitis is warmth of the infected skin. Patients are likely to feel the sensation of a localized section of skin emitting heat.
As is evident from the above, the most defining symptoms of cellulitis are hardly very distinctive. Hence, it would be advisable for an individual to seek medical help as soon as a combination of two or more of these aforementioned signs appears on the skin.
Other Symptoms of Infection
There are some symptoms which do not manifest themselves in all patients. These include a fever accompanying the skin condition and allied symptoms like chills, shivering, nausea, fatigue, body ache and a general feeling of being sick.
In very rare cases, joint stiffness, hair loss in the affected area and vomiting may also occur. Usually, such additional symptoms reflect that the infection is either severe or spreading rapidly. In either case, immediate medical aid is of requisite importance to prevent further damage.
Even as cellulitis is quite liable to misdiagnosis on account of its generic symptoms and their similarity to those of other skin conditions (where there is no infection), it is mostly with just a physical examination that doctors diagnose the disease.
In some cases where symptoms are confusing or the doctor requires a more specific understanding of the infection, a bacterial culture may be obtained to determine which bacteria is the cause. Also, a blood test may be taken if it needs be checked if the infection has spread to the bloodstream or not.
The diagnosis then, though not requiring a long series of medical tests, is nonetheless tricky on account of being highly contingent on the doctor’s physical examination. In fact, sometimes other diseases such as Lyme disease, varicose eczema, impetigo and stasis dermatitis are mistaken to be cellulitis or vice versa. Thus, it is recommended that when suffering from the symptoms mentioned above, the best course of action is to immediately seek advice from a competent and experienced physician.
The bottom line is that since cellulitis can spread very rapidly and enter the bloodstream or lymph nodes, it is important that it be curbed and cured as speedily post contraction as possible.