Is Antibiotic Treatment for Cellulitis Necessary?

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Tess Thompson



Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus, the same bacteria that cause a strep throat can also cause cellulitis, an inflammation of body tissue, especially below the skin. Cellulitis is characterized by fever, swelling, redness and pain.

Cellulitis means inflammation of the cells and refers specifically to cells just underneath the skin. Healthy skin is the body’s best defense against bacteria and tiny disease causing microorganisms. Cellulitis occurs mostly when the skin is injured due a specific reason and gives an entry point for the bacteria to enter the body. Once the bacterium has penetrated the skin, the moist conditions, warmth and nutrients allow it to grow at a fast speed. Disease causing pathogens release proteins called enzymes that cause tissue damage. The body responds with inflammation, which is accompanied by pain and redness.

Orbital cellulitis is a serious infection where bacteria enter the eye and infect surrounding tissues. A majority of the cases of orbital cellulitis occur due to the spread of infection from the sinuses and upper respiratory tract, during rest after facial surgery, direct injury, or throat and dental infections.

A mild occurrence of cellulitis is initially treated with anti-inflammatory drug and pain killers are given to ease pain. Moderate conditions require oral antibiotics. Usually there is no need for hospitalization unless the patient falls under the high risk category. Severe conditions, however, require intravenous administration of stronger antibiotics. Normally, penicillin, erythromycin and cephalosporin are the preferred antibiotics, there is a history of allergy to penicillin or resistance to a particular antibiotic. A warm moist compress, rest and elevating the infected area is usually advised along with administration of antibiotics. Mild to moderate cellulitis is cured within seven to ten days. However, cellulitis can take an ugly turn by making deep inroads in the body or bone and joint infections, which may require a surgical drainage.

The state of your immune system health is an important factor in warding of such attacks. Left untreated cellulitis can progress from minor abscesses to life threatening diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis and septicemia. Risk of developing Streptococcal infections increases in the following conditions.

  • People who have undergone surgery,
  • Children with chicken pox.
  • Burn victims, insect bites, skin injury and animal bites.
  • Prevalence of an underlying disease like cancer, diabetes and kidney disease.
  • Patients on steroids and immunosuppressive medications.
  • Deficient immune system.

Instead of depending upon the conventional antibiotics it is better to look for an antibiotic alternative as well as taking steps in order to prevent the occurrence of cellulitis. Prevention of cellulitis is possible with protective gear during work and sports, proper hygiene and maintaining general and immune system’s health. In most cases cellulitis is a mild condition and its spread can be halted with topical application of a herbal antibiotic such as fresh turmeric paste. Including herbs for the immune system such as Echinacea, ginseng, and licorice, along with Vitamin C, and flavonoids in your daily diet can also do wonders for maintaining your general health and ability to fight disease with natural remedies.

Reference:
http://skin-care.health-cares.net/cellulitis-treatment.php
http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/
http://emergency-medicine.jwatch.org/cgi/content

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