First Signs Of Cellulitis
We all know kids get cuts and scratches easily. It kind of comes with the territory as a kid. Most of the time, these minor injuries are just that, minor, and are not cause for alarm. However, there are some complications that can arise, and one of these is cellulitis. Cellulitis is a bacterial infection and affects the skin and tissues underneath the skin. After getting a cut or scratch, bacteria, often staphylococcus or streptococcus, can enter through the compromised skin and cause this infection.
Cellulitis can occur when bacteria enter the body after a cut, scratch, or animal bite. A weakened immune system can increase the chances of getting cellulitis. It most commonly occurs on the face, arms, or legs. Local signs of cellulitis can include swelling, redness, tenderness, blistering, and warmth of the skin. Swollen lymph nodes may also occur in the surrounding area. There can also be pus draining from an open wound.
Some symptoms indicate a medical emergency. Have your child seen by a doctor immediately if they experience a fever, a very large area of red inflammation and swelling, red streaks traveling up a limb away from the wound, numbness or tingling, or if your child has a compromised immune system.
Treatment usually includes oral antibiotics to treat the underlying bacterial infection, but sometimes intravenous antibiotics may be necessary with severe infections. Your child’s doctor may also advise you to soak the wound in an epsom salt bath and to have your child rest. If the infection is on an extremity, your child’s doctor may recommend that you have your child lay down with the infected body part elevated throughout the day.
You can prevent cellulitis from occurring in your child by following some basic wound care tips. Always wash your hands well with soap and water or wear gloves before taking care of an open wound your child has gotten. Consider putting antibacterial ointment, if recommended by your doctor, and bandages on the wound as soon as possible after your child’s injury to prevent bacteria or other pathogens from being able to enter the wound. Continue to put on ointment until the wound heals or scabs over, if recommended by your doctor. Most importantly, keep the wound clean.
If you suspect your child has cellulitis, follow up with your pediatrician or bring them to MVP Pediatric and Urgent Care for an evaluation if your pediatrician is not available.