No one likes to talk about foot fungus or infections. But if you have a painful rash or tender skin on your foot or lower legs and live in the Lansdowne, Virginia, area, you should make an appointment with infectious diseases specialist Sarfraz A. Choudhary, MD, FACP, at Infectious Diseases Tropical Medicine and Travel Clinic. You may have cellulitis, a potentially dangerous infection of the skin and soft tissue beneath your skin. Cellulitis can also affect your arms, hands, face, and eyes. Call for an appointment or make one online today.
When you get a cut, bruise, burn, or wound, your skin is vulnerable to bacteria. If bacteria get into the opening in your skin, it can cause an infection of the skin and the underlying tissue; this infection is cellulitis. Cellulitis is not contagious and can’t spread to other people.
If left untreated, though, it can spread on your body and become life-threatening. It’s important to seek medical attention from a specialist like Dr. Choudhary right away if you’re at risk for cellulitis and notice symptoms such as pain, redness, and swelling.
When you have cellulitis, bacteria has entered a break in your skin. If you’ve had an injury or trauma, surgery, diabetes, or skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis, you’re at a higher risk than the rest of the population. People with liver diseases, blood circulation problems, and varicose veins are also at risk. Other risk factors include a suppressed immune system, obesity, and intravenous drug use.
Symptoms can vary from person to person, but common ones include:
In some cases, red spots and blisters develop. If your symptoms become severe or change rapidly, seek emergency care.
You can prevent cellulitis with a little effort and care. If you get a wound or cut, keep it clean and apply an antibiotic ointment. Keep your wound covered with a bandage and change the bandage regularly to keep it clean.
During an exam, Dr. Choudhary inspects your skin and may take a blood test or skin culture to diagnose your condition accurately and develop a personalized treatment plan. In most cases, he prescribes oral antibiotics and asks that you elevate the infected area to help reduce swelling. He may also prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce your pain and fever.
If you don’t respond to oral antibiotics or the infection has spread, you may receive antibiotics or other medications delivered through your veins in the form of an IV in a hospital until your infection is under control. In rare cases, you may need surgery to drain pus that has collected in the tissue and to remove dead tissue.