Cellulitis

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What are cellulitis risk factors?

Most commonly, cellulitis develops in the area of a break in the skin, such as a cut, small puncture wound, or insect bite. In some cases when cellulitis develops without an apparent skin injury, it may be due to microscopic cracks in the skin that are inflamed or irritated. It may also appear in the skin near ulcers or surgical wounds.

In other circumstances, cellulitis occurs where there has been no skin break at all, such as with chronic leg swelling (edema). A preexisting skin infection, such as athlete's foot (tinea pedis) or impetigo can predispose to the development of cellulitis. Likewise, inflammatory conditions of the skin like eczema, psoriasis, or skin damage caused by radiation therapy can lead to cellulitis.

People who have diabetes or conditions that compromise the function of the immune system (for example, HIV/AIDS or those receiving chemotherapy or drugs that suppress the immune system) are particularly prone to developing cellulitis.

Conditions that reduce the circulation of blood in the veins or that reduce circulation of the lymphatic fluid (such as venous insufficiency, obesity, pregnancy, or surgeries) also increase the risk of developing cellulitis. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 4/26/2016
References
REFERENCE:

Herchline, Thomas E. "Cellulitis." Medscape.com. Aug. 19, 2015. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/214222-overview>.

IMAGES:

1. Bigstock

2. MedicineNet

3. MedicineNet

4. iStock

5. Rafael Lopez

6. iStock, Medscape

7. CDC - Janice Carr

8. BigStock

9. iStock

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