Is Cellulitis Contagious?

is cellulitis contagious

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin. It affects the dermis as well as the subcutaneous layer tissues that lie beneath the skin. The bacteria generally penetrate and invades the skin through a cut, scratch or laceration. This results in inflammation, pain , warmth, irritation, swelling or redness.

Generally it affects the skin on the face or the upper part of the legs. However it may occur in other parts of the body also. Once infected prompt treatment should be initialized to control infection and other related problems.

 

Is Cellulitis Infection Contagious?

Cellulitis is not directly contagious in nature as it is an infection of the tissues lying underneath the outer layer of the skin. You cannot get this skin condition by merely touching a person who is already infected. However, the bacteria that cause it can spread it due to direct contact with an open wound of an infected person.

The person who acquires this bacteria is likely to develop minor skin rashes and irritations. He is also prone to an increased risk of developing cellulitis. This makes it clear that cellulitis does not spread from one person to another person.

However a person is more susceptible to developing cellulitis in the following cases:
a.)  If a person has an injury such as an abrasion, open wound, scratch or laceration.
b.)   Has athlete’s foot, a fungal infection, eczema, shingles or other skin related diseases.
c.)   Animal bites can also cause cellulitis.
d.)   A person who takes part in contact sports like wrestling.
e.)   People with diabetes or impaired immune system are also susceptible to cellulitis.
f.)   The elderly people, people who have swollen legs due to poor blood circulation and those who are obese are also vulnerable to contracting cellulitis.
g.)   The limb is inclined to be affected by cellulitis if the lymph nodes have been removed as a result of some surgery.
h.)   A person who has had a previous episode of cellulitis infection is most likely to have it reoccur.
i.)   If the person is an intravenous drug user.
j.)   People with chronic foot ulcers also predispose to cellulitis.
k.)  A person with an insect bite wound.
l.)   A person infected with chicken pox and develops blisters and open gaps are also easily prone to cellulitis.
m.)  Poor blood circulation on the lower limbs can also induce cellulitis infection.
n.)   Cellulitis also affects persons who live in a unhygienic condition.

 

Preventive Measures

It is apparent that cellulitis is not contagious. However the microorganisms that cause cellulitis are contagious in nature. Hence proper precautionary measures have to be undertaken to prevent the infection. To prevent cellulitis a person has to keep himself clean and tidy.

If he has a wound he has to wash the infected area and apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent bacteria from the dwelling. Moreover no wound should be left open but covered with a bandage. One should also avoid walking barefoot and avoid situations that might hurt the skin.

 

Conclusion

Generally people infected by cellulitis recover without much complications. However some serious, life threatening situations may also arise in some cases. In that case treatment should be initiated without further delay.

Image credit: nyul/123RF Stock Photo


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