Cellulitis is a common but potentially serious bacterial skin infection which appears as a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot and tender. It occurs when bacteria, most commonly streptococcus and staphylococcus, enter through a crack or break in the skin. It usually affects the face and lower legs but can spread rapidly all over the body and also affect tissues underlying the skin and might even spread to lymph nodes and bloodstream. Recurrent episodes of cellulitis may damage the lymphatic drainage system and cause chronic swelling of the affected limb. Cellulitis can become life-threatening if left untreated so it is important to seek medical attention right away.
Signs and symptoms of cellulitis include red area of skin which expand, swelling, tenderness, pain, warmth, red spots, blisters, skin dimpling, fever and chills.
Common risk factors for cellulitis include injury, weakened immune system, skin conditions, chronic swollen tissue, intravenous drug use and obesity.