Cellulitis is a type of infection that affects the skin and the tissue underneath. The bacteria, most commonly Group A streptococcal bacteria, enter the skin through an opening, such as a cut, scrape, burn, or surgical incision, or even a bug bite or sting. Cellulitis usually affects the skin on the lower legs, but it can appear in the face, arms or other areas. It is basically the result of bacteria being allowed to enter a crack or break in the skin.


Please be warned that if left untreated, the infection can spread to your lymph nodes and bloodstream and rapidly become life-threatening. It is not spread from person to person.


Dr. Uma Chakravadhanula, Dermatologist at Idea Clinic says, “Cellulitis has to do with accumulation of bad blood in the venous system. Just as mosquitoes gather where there is stagnant water, so also bacteria gather where there is stagnant blood, causing inflammation, which is the body’s reaction to bacterial invasion.”


Be vigilant about the signs and symptoms of Cellulitis, which usually appear on one side of the body:


•   Redness of skin that tends to spread


•   Swelling


•   Tenderness


•   Pain


•   Warmth


•   Fever


•   Red Spots


•   Blisters


•   Skin Dimpling


If you have one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, please seek medical help immediately, as this condition spreads rapidly through your body and results in often fatal complications like Sepsis.


Sepsis is the body’s often fatal response to infection or injury, and it kills and disables millions. You need to be vigilant enough to seek treatment of Cellulitis before it progresses to Sepsis or Septic Shock. Globally, one-third of people who develop Sepsis die, while many who do survive are left with life altering effects such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Chronic Pain and Fatigue, Organ Dysfunction and Amputations.


Says Dr. Uma Chakravadhanula, “Though not all Cellulitis leads to Septic Shock, you need to be vigilant and arrest any infection in the early stages. Pay attention to boils, particularly on the face, and any areas where there is loose skin. Cellulitis occurs between the skin and the muscle in the subcutaneous tissue.”


People at higher risk of contracting Cellulitis:


•   Those with an impaired immune system, which includes anyone undergoing chemotherapy or taking corticosteroids.


•   People suffering from illnesses like Diabetes


•   Those with skin conditions and disorders which cause breaks in the skin like eczema, shingles, and even chicken pox.


•   People with Lymphedema, which is a swelling of an arm or a leg, most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to the lymph nodes, as part of cancer treatment. The swollen or stretched skin can crack.


•   People who are struggling with obesity.


•   People with a history of Cellulitis.


“Those who are termed Immunocompromised Patients, such as patients suffering from Cancer, Psoriasis, even expectant mothers, need to be particularly careful about seeking medical attention the moment they spot any evidence of Cellulitis or bacterial infection. Patients on corticosteroids also fall into the category of Immunocompromised Patients,” Says Dr. Uma Chakravadhanula. 


“React fast to prevent devastating consequences,” Dr. Uma goes on to say.  “One quick, early trip to the Doctor is all you need to diagnose and treat Cellulitis before it becomes life threatening. But it needs to be attended to quickly as it spreads rapidly. Sepsis also spreads rapidly, quickly attacking all the organs and shutting them down, one by one. Sepsis is estimated to affect more than 30 million people worldwide every year, potentially leading to 6 million deaths. But we can prevent it by early treatment of infections like Cellulitis.”