Cellulitis is a common, potentially serious, spreading inflammation of the skin and the tissues just beneath the skin that results from bacterial infection. It usually begins as a small area of tenderness, swelling and redness, and it may spread rapidly. As this red area begins to enlarge, the person may develop a fever, sometimes with chills and sweats. Many experience swollen lymph nodes near the area of infected skin.
Any of a number of different bacteria may be responsible, including staphylococci, streptococci and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staph aureus). The infection manifests itself as a painful, hot, red area with an indistinct border, and it can spread both sideways and into deeper tissues. Symptoms generally come on suddenly and increase in severity over a twenty-four-hour period.
Cellulitis can occur anywhere on the body, though it is most often found in areas where breaks in the skin provide a pathway for bacteria to enter and in places affected by edema. The face and lower legs are the most common sites, although it can occur anywhere on the body or face. Infections on the face are more common in children and older adults. People with edema are particularly at risk. Other risk factors include animal or human bites, diabetes, the use of steroid medications, a history of peripheral blood-vessel disease and recent cardiovascular or pulmonary surgery or invasive dental work. Following surgery or in the case of trauma wounds, cellulitis can develop in the abdomen or chest areas. Certain types of insect or spider bites also can transmit the bacteria that start the infection. People with morbid obesity can also develop cellulitis in the abnormal skin. The skin symptoms may or may not be accompanied by fever, chills, heart palpitations, headache and/or mental confusion.
Deeper, more serious cases of cellulitis can progress to a state called necrotizing cellulitis-fasciitis. In this form of the disorder, the infection can destroy tissue at a very rapid rate, and tissue destruction can extend to the fascia, fibrous tissue below the skin. The skin may take on a bluish color, blisters may develop, and systemic symptoms of fever, a rapid heartbeat and changes in consciousness are likely. Left untreated, the spreading infection may rapidly turn life-threatening.
There is also a more superficial version of cellulitis called erysipelas. This problem is caused by an aggressive type of streptococcal bacteria called beta-hemolytic streptococci. Erysipelas often affects the face, with a bright-red, sharply bordered painful area of skin, but can progress quickly to cause fever, chills and an overall ill feeling.
Cellulitis is unrelated (except etymologically) to cellulite, a "cosmetic" condition featuring dimpling of the skin.
Information from Mayo Clinic lists several factors can place you at greater risk of developing cellulitis:
• Age. As you age, your circulatory system becomes less effective at delivering blood — with its infection-fighting white blood cells — to some areas of your body. As a result, skin abrasions may lead to infections where your circulation is poor.
• Weakened immune system. Illnesses that result in a weakening of your immune system leave you more susceptible to infections such as cellulitis. Examples of these illnesses include chronic lymphocytic leukemia and HIV infection. Taking immune-suppressing drugs, such as prednisone or cyclosporine, also can leave you more vulnerable to infections. Immune-suppressing drugs are used to treat a variety of illnesses and to help prevent rejection in people who receive organ transplants.
• Diabetes. Having diabetes not only increases your blood sugar level but also impairs your immune system and increases your risk of infection. Your skin is one of the many areas of your body that becomes more susceptible to infection. Diabetes may result in decreased circulation of blood to your lower extremities, potentially leading to chronic ulcers of your feet. These ulcers can serve as portals of entry for bacterial infections.
• Chicken Pox and Shingles. These common viral diseases typically cause broken blisters on the skin that can serve as potential entry points for bacterial invasion and infection.
• Chronic swelling of your arms or legs (lymphedema). Swollen tissue may crack, leaving your skin vulnerable to bacterial infection.
• Chronic fungal infection of your feet or toes. Recurrent fungal infection of your feet or toes can cause cracks in your skin, increasing your risk of bacterial infection.
• Intravenous drug use. People who inject illicit drugs have a higher risk of developing cellulitis.
1. Just sending you some feedback regarding treatment with your colloidal silver for severe cellulitis with ulceration, which affected both legs from ankles to knees.
I suffer from cellulitis attacks regularly, at least once a year, due to diabetes and impaired blood circulation in the legs. I have always been treated with antibiotics and developed resistance to most of them. In my latest bout, which was severe with ulceration affecting both legs from ankles to knees, I treated myself with colloidal silver, saline compresses and essential oils.
I took 1 tablespoon of the colloidal silver morning and night and had a detox reaction with flu-like symptoms for a couple of days, but I kept up the treatment since I considered this a good sign.
I also used hot saline compresses for 30 minutes daily, and then I gently massaged the affected areas with blend of the following essential oils:
GERMAN CHAMOMILE - 6 drops
LAVENDER – 4 drops
ROMAN CHAMOMILE - 3 drops
TEA TREE - 2 drops
I chose these essential oils because they are anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, and German Chamomile is a great choice in treating skin ulceration of any kind.
After applying the essential oils to the affected skin and massaging them in well, I wore medical support stockings to aid blood circulation.
My legs were visibly improved after 48 hours. After 4 days the ulceration was completely healed, erythema disappeared, swelling was substantially reduced and the excessive warmth of the affected skin was reduced to normal.
Currently my cellulitis is gone. I am continuing to take colloidal silver, but at a reduced dose or 1 tsp. I stopped using saline compresses. I’m not wearing the medical stocking any longer, but I do wear support stockings, and I apply a blend of Roman Chamomile and Lavender essential oils at night as a preventative measure.
2. I developed a secondary case of cellulitis on my lower leg after a dog bite. After two rounds of antibiotics, I was still had a lingering infection. I then decided to try the essential oils my friend offered me. First, I used PURIFY which helped, but I ran out. Next, she told me to try RESPIRATORY RELIEF. I cleaned my wounds out with hydrogen peroxide twice daily then applied the oils. The skin around the wounds returned to normal very quickly – I was shocked!
3. We have been applying CIRCULATION to my father's legs. He has had cellulitis in each leg - one case in 1997 and the other case just this past summer. After just a few applications we can already see a difference in the skin color, which has gone from very dark to a more fleshy, healthy color. His legs already feel better as well, particularly just after the application. I want to say a heartfelt thank-you to the LORD, the Giver of all good gifts and a heartfelt thanks to you as well, Linda, as His servant and instrument of healing here on earth. :) - J.P.
4. LEMON essential oil did wonderful things for my cellulitis. My husband was worried about me using it instead of the "sterile" meds, but those were not working and this did. I had a horrible cellulitis infection on my calf and applied it directly to the wound.
5. I've found that I can use a drop or two of GRAPEFRUIT or LEMON essential oil on my mother's troublesome cellulitis to decrease it and prevent it. She doesn't mind if I do this undiluted, but I've also added a couple drops of either or both to about a tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive oil (cold pressed). It took months to see appreciative results, but it didn't get worse and only got better. She had it really bad, too.
6. I found a recipe online for "anti-cellulitis" oil and copied it with what I had from HEO. I used MARIGOLD, LEMON, CEDARWOOD, CYPRESS, EUCALYPTUS CITRIODORA, NIAOULI and DALMATIAN SAGE in a base of Hazelnut oil. I used it 2-3 times daily for about a month, and it worked wonders.