Cellulitis is a skin infection. It occurs when bacteria break into the deep layers of the skin. The common causes are cuts and scratches.
Cellulitis can occur everywhere on the body. The specific location of the infection can influence the type of symptoms experienced by the individual. This condition can spread if the proper diagnosis and treatment are delayed. Thus, it becomes crucial to be able to identify cellulitis symptoms as early as possible.
In this article, we provide an overview of the common symptoms of cellulitis. We also describe the early symptoms so that you can identify and get fast treatment for this infection.
What are the first symptoms of Cellulitis?
We will detail below, the first common symptoms of cellulitis. Because this condition can quickly progress and lead to complications, it is important to be able to identify these symptoms as early as possible, to receive the appropriate treatment.
Pain and Tenderness
Local pain and tenderness appear early in the development of cellulitis. It does not have to be severe, but as any kind of pain, it merits to be assessed by a doctor to find out the cause.
Redness and Inflammation of the Skin
Another early sign will be diffuse redness in the affected area, which is a landmark for skin inflammation. Additionally, there may be swelling and/or a rash. The area may also be hot to the touch.
Even if it seems minor, any new redness needs to be examined by a medical professional. He/she will provide a quick diagnosis.
Since cellulitis can develop very quickly, the symptoms can also worsen within a short period of time. Local signs of cellulitis include a skin that is both warm and tender to the touch as well as swollen.
However, in addition to local signs in the skin area, the patient may experience an overwhelming general feeling of tiredness, and sometimes confusion. The onset of fever, unusual in simple cases of cellulitis, can follow.
All these general symptoms should be taken seriously as they can be the prelude to complications; this situation needs to be treated as a medical emergency.
Symptoms related to specific locations
The symptoms may vary according to the location of the infected skin area. The most common areas of the skin prone to cellulitis, are the legs, feet, hands, arms, and the area surrounding the eyes.
Below, we detail the specific symptoms of two common types of cellulitis.
Periorbital Cellulitis Symptoms
One common type of infection involves the area around the eye. Periorbital cellulitis symptoms include swelling, discoloration, and redness of the skin surrounding the eye. The skin can feel tender to the touch; it may also feel rough due to the infiltration of the deep layers underneath the skin.
Furthermore, if the infection extends to orbital space, there may be eyelid and visual symptoms associated with pain, and general symptoms, like a fever.
Symptoms of Leg Cellulitis
Skin conditions and injuries are the primary risk factors for the onset of infection in this location. The most common symptom of leg cellulitis is swelling. There may also be redness around the infected area and itchiness.
Moreover, there may be a red patch or a rash in the leg. These symptoms can quickly worsen within 24 hours.
Symptoms of cellulitis in the leg can include swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin area.
With this overview of the symptoms of cellulitis, you understand now why it is important to take action as soon as you see them develop. The faster you receive treatment, the more likely you are to make a fast recovery.
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Last article update: 9/28/2019
Medically reviewed by Dr. Thouria Bensaoula on Sept 26, 2019.