Q: What is the pathophysiology of cellulitis?
A: According to MedScape, the pathophysiology (a term used to describe the functional changes that come with a disease or syndrome) of cellulitis involves “… a breach in the skin, such as a fissure, cut, laceration, insect bite or puncture wound.”
In certain instances, no obvious portal of entry can be seen, as the breach may have been brought on by microscopic changes in the skin. Sometimes, invasive qualities of certain bacteria are to blame.1 If you want to learn more about what is cellulitis and how it affects the skin, check out this page.
Q: What is the first sign of a cellulitis infection?
A: Cellulitis starts out as a small and painful area usually near ulcers or wounds. Once the infection spreads to surrounding areas, symptoms such as redness, swelling and warmth manifest. Skin tenderness, blisters, fever, red spots and dimpling are other hallmark signs of cellulitis. Abscess formation and swelling of the lymph nodes may also occur. These symptoms may either manifest gradually or appear suddenly.
Q: What is cellulitis of the leg/legs called?
A: Cellulitis that manifests on the legs or other limbs (arms, hands and feet) is called cellulitis of the extremities, which is the most common type of cellulitis. Swelling, redness and tenderness may manifest on the affected areas, and may be accompanied by rashes and joint stiffness, muscle aches, fever and nausea. If the legs are affected, the lymph glands in the groin may become swollen, too.
Q: Can cellulitis affect a person’s genital area?
A: Yes. Sometimes, cellulitis may occur on a person’s genital areas, such as the scrotum or penis. Cellulitis of the scrotum or penis is typically brought on by a Staphylococcus or Streptococcus species, and sometimes by a gram-negative organism like Pseudomonas.2
Q: What is cellulitis of the eye called?
A: This type of cellulitis can be further classified into two subtypes: periorbital cellulitis (or preseptal cellulitis) and orbital cellulitis. The difference lies in which part of the eye they affect. Periorbital cellulitis affects the eye, particularly the eyelid and/or the skin surrounding the eye, while orbital cellulitis affects the tissues on or near the eye.
The latter is considered a medical emergency because there’s a risk of the infection spreading to the brain. Learn more about the different types of cellulitis here.
Q: What is cellulitis of the face?
A: Called facial cellulitis, this is a condition that occurs anywhere on your face, including the lips and tongue. It may come with chills, fever, irritability and swelling of the tongue. Your skin may also feel tight and warm to the touch.
One example of cellulitis of the face is nasal cellulitis, which occurs when the cells in the nose become inflamed. Just like orbital cellulitis, this can be life-threatening if left untreated, as the infection may spread to the brain through the veins inside the nasal cavity.3