Cellulitis is generally an acute, spreading infectious process that
initially affects the epidermis and dermis and may subsequently spread within the superficial fascia. Infections of the skin and soft tissue are
among those most commonly seen both in and out of the hospital setting.
Allowed to spread, these infections can lead to complications such as gram-negative sepsis, bacterial endocarditis, or streptococcal glomerulonephritis. The skin and subcutaneous tissues are normally
extremely resistant to infection.
The effectiveness of skin as a barrier against infection is due, in part,
to several factors that work together. The surface of the skin is
relatively dry and not conducive to bacterial growth. Also, continuous renewal of the epidermal layer causes shedding of keratocytes and skin
bacteria. The skin also produces sebaceous secretions, which hydrolyze to
free fatty acids and strongly inhibit the growth of many bacteria and
Conditions that compromise these host defenses may predispose patients to
the development of skin infections and include skin punctures, abrasions,
or underlying disease such as diabetes. Large portions of these infections
are caused by normal skin flora, and the nature and severity of the
infection is dependent upon the site of inoculation and type of
microorganism. Exposed areas of the body (face, neck) generally have the
highest bacterial density and Staphylococcus epidermidis is the
most common microorganism.
Cellulitis is classically caused by group A b-hemolytic streptococci such
as Streptococcus pyogenes or Staphylococcus aureus.
Although less common, cellulitis may also be caused by a wide variety of
gram-negative organisms, such as Escherichia coli, Proteus sp., and Klebsiella sp. Cellulitis, as a result
of gram-negative organisms, is often polymicrobic in nature and may involve
anaerobic microorganisms, especially Bacteroides, and Peptostreptococcus. This type of complicated infection is often
seen in patients with diabetic foot problems. Infection in the lower extremities is also the most common septic problem leading to hospitalization in diabetics. One of the more exotic possibilities is the induction of cellulitis by an insect bite. One example of this would be from the bite of the brown recluse spider.
Neuropathic changes to the autonomic nervous system as a consequence of
diabetes may affect the motor nerve supply of small intrinsic muscles of
the foot, resulting in muscular imbalance, abnormal stresses on tissue and bone, and repetitive injuries. Diminished sensory perception causes an
absence of pain and unawareness of minor injuries and ulceration. Also, the
sympathetic nerve supply may be damaged and can result in an absence of
sweating. This leads to dry, cracked skin, which can become secondarily infected.
Another population predisposed to skin infections and cellulitis is the
intravenous drug user. Infectious complications may include, among other things, abscess formation and cellulitis at the site of injection. These
skin and soft-tissue infections are frequently located on the upper
extremities and are often polymicrobic in nature.
or streptococci are the most common pathogenic organisms isolated from
these infections (37-61 percent of patients). Anaerobic bacteria are also
commonly found (6-67 percent of patients), although the role of these bacteria in the pathogenesis of infection is unclear. These various
organisms are believed to originate as normal flora of the skin, as well as
from the mouth and contaminated needles, syringes, and diluents.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements shown to help Cellulitis:
Prescription for Natural Cures
by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.M.D.
Super Prescription #1
- LifeSource Product
Take 135 to 200 mg three times daily. Can be used safely in conjunction
with other therapies.
Super Prescription #2
Use as directed on label. It can aid in circulation, reduce inflammation
and improve wound healing.
Super Prescription #3
Use a directed on label. It is useful in fighting off infection as well as
stimulating the lymphatic system.
Super Prescription #4
Take 1,000 mg daily. It soothes inflamed skin and is an immune booster.
Super Prescription #5
Tea Tree Oil
Apply a few drops of oil to cotton ball and apply to the infected area.
After 2 to 3 hours wash off with warm water. Reduces swelling and redness.
Super Prescription #6
Take 1 or 2 capsules daily. Has potent anti-inflammatory effects which
makes it one of the most effective alternative treatments for cellulitis.
Super Prescription #7
1,000 mg two times daily. Has natural healing powers. Useful to treat
bacterial infections, especially cellulitis.
Cellulitis can present with general flu-like symptoms and tissue
involvement at the site of infection. General complications include erythema, edema and a painful lesion that is non-elevated, with poorly defined margins. Tender lymphadenopathy is common as is malaise, fever and chills. There is usually a history of an antecedent wound from a minor
trauma, ulceration, abrasion or surgery.
Other complications include bacteremia, the possibility of
thrombophlebitis, particularly in the elderly population with cellulitis of
the lower extremities, abscesses, osteomyelitis and septic arthritis.
The lesion is painful, non-elevated, with poorly defined margins
Tender lymphadenopathy is common
Usually, a history of antecedent wound from minor trauma, ulceration,
abrasion, or surgery
Other complications include
Possibility of thrombophlebitis, particularly in the elderly population
with cellulitis of the lower extremities, abscesses, osteomyelitis, and
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