First Line of Defense = Skin: Cellulitis

First Line of Defense = Skin: Cellulitis

Your skin is an essential part of your body often taken for granted.   Skin is the external tissue that covers your body and your largest organ.   The thickest skin is found on your feet and the thinnest skin is on your eyelids.   Your skin has three layers: the epidermis (the outermost layer, the dermis, and the subcutis (your inner most layer).   Your skin sheds over 30,000 dead cells every minute.   Your skin is waterproof, helps control your body”s temperature and protects your organs from injury, viruses and bacteria.

Cellulitis is a non-contagious bacterial skin infection that penetrates down into subcutaneous or connective tissue of your body.   The bacterial infection can be streptococcus (strep) or staphylococcus (staph).

Strep_3Symptoms of Cellulitis:

Skin area that is warm, red, swollen and tender.

Most common area of occurrence is the lower leg but this infection can appear anywhere.

Red streaking on surface of skin



Swollen Glands  

Risk Factors:

Older adults


Weakened immune system

A skin injury: cut, burn, animal or insect bite.

Skin related fungal infections: ulcers, eczema, and psoriasis or athlete”s foot.

Skin related diseases: chicken pox or shingles.

Poor circulation – Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)



Any opening in the skin from a cut, insect bite, spider bite or dry cracked flaky skin that allows harmful bacteria an entry point.


Antibiotics: oral, intravenous, or topical cream

Hot compresses

Draining the area if it is full of puss

You need to see a doctor immediately if you have symptoms.   Quickly getting the infection under control greatly increases the chances of a quick cure.   Your general practitioner should be your first call.   In some cases you may be referred to a dermatologist.


If not treated right away cellulitis can lead to sepsis, meningitis, or blood clots.


Take good care of your skin:   wash regularly, eat a balanced healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and practice sun safety.

Wash any cuts, scrapes or wounds with soap and water.

Apply an antibiotic ointment or spray to cuts or wounds.

Watch for signs of infection redness, pain or drainage.

Moisturize and hydrate to keep skin from cracking a peeling.

If you have Diabetes or suffer with poor circulation check legs and feet frequently for signs of infection.

Promptly treat all skin infections such as athlete”s foot.

Carefully trim finger nails and toe nails to avoid injury.   Your hands and feet come into contact with lots of harmful bacteria.

Wear shoes and gloves to help prevent injury and exposure to bacteria particularly when gardening.

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