Cellulitis Symptoms & Causes

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In-Depth

What is cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a deep bacterial infection of the skin. The infection usually involves the face, or the arms and legs. It may happen in normal skin, but it usually occurs after some type of trauma causes an opening in your child's skin. This opening can lead to an infection.

What is the cause of cellulitis?

Cellulitis is usually caused by a bacterial infection of a wound or an area of skin that is no longer intact. The most common types of bacteria causing cellulitis are:

  • group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus
  • streptococcus pyogenes
  • staphylococcus aureus

Human or animal bites or injuries that occur in water can cause infection of the skin or transmission of other diseases, and should be taken seriously.

What are the symptoms of cellulitis?

  • swelling of the skin
  • tenderness
  • warm skin
  • pain
  • bruising
  • blisters
  • fever
  • headache
  • chills
  • feeling weak
  • red streaks from the original site of the cellulitis

Some cases of cellulitis are considered an emergency. Consult your child's physician immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • a very large area of red, inflamed skin
  • fever
  • if the area affected is causing your child to complain of numbness, tingling or other changes in a hand, arm, leg or foot
  • if the skin appears black
  • if the area that is red and swollen is around your child's eyes or behind the ears
  • if your child has diabetes or has a weakened immune system and develops cellulitis
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