Cellulitis is an infection in the deep layers of the skin and tissue. It is caused by streptococcus or staphylococcus bacteria. These bacteria exist naturally in the skin and may cause infection if there is a break or opening in the skin.
It can also be caused by foreign bacteria. If left untreated, this medical condition of skin may spread to the deeper layers of the skin. This increases the chances of the bacteria entering the blood stream and infecting vital organs.
Cellulitis must be rightly diagnosed and treated to avoid the dangerous effects.
What Are Cellulitis Diagnosis Facts?
Cellulitis is diagnosed by assessing the symptoms, examining the area and performing the necessary steps.
The doctor starts the diagnosis procedure by asking a series of questions. Some medical conditions increase the risk of cellulitis. The doctor would first like to confirm the presence or absence of health issues that include diabetes, HIV and cancers like leukemia etc.
The doctor would also like to know if the patient takes drugs intravenously or has been bitten by an animal or insect and if the patient has recently been in fresh or salt water.
The health care provider will perform a physical examination and check for symptoms like redness, warmth, swelling, tenderness and pain in the infected area. He will also look for cuts, sores, bruises and other breaks in the skin. He will examine the area to look for possible drainage.
Ruling Out Other Diseases
The symptoms of cellulitis are similar to many other medical conditions. Then the physician proceeds to rule out the possibility of other skin diseases like varicose eczema, gout, blood clot, deep vein thrombosis and lymphoma etc.
Tests To Be Conducted
If the health care provider has doubts he may order some tests to be conducted. Before conducting the tests, he may mark the infected site with a pen. He will see if the infection spreads beyond the marked area. If it spreads infection is confirmed.
If there is an open wound in the skin, the physician may take a swab of tissues to see what type of bacteria causes the infection.
A series of blood tests may be ordered if the infection is severe.
Full blood cell count is done to check raised white blood cell count.
Culture tests are conducted to find which type of bacteria had caused the infection.
In case of acute inflammation, skin biopsy may be performed. This is done to confirm the presence of microorganisms.
In rare cases, ultrasound, CT scan and MRI may be recommended.
Ultrasound and CT scan shows fluid collection if abscess is present. MRI shows thickening of deep tissue and fluid collection.
The right and early diagnosis of cellulitis is important to start the right treatment. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat cellulitis.
The patient may need intravenous administration of antibiotics in case of severe infection or if the symptoms do not improve after taking oral antibiotics.
The doctor will decide if the patient needs oral or intravenous antibiotics and if the patient will need a hospital stay only after diagnosis. The earlier the diagnosis, the quicker and more effective is the recovery.
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