KinderMender has witnessed a recent uptick in cellulitis in children – perhaps brought about by the active nature of a new school year, raucous recess time, and youth athletics.
This nasty skin infection most frequently results from an area of broken skin – be it scrapes, puncture wounds, or cuts. It’s bacterial – often associated with streptococcus or staphylococcus – and can affect virtually any part of body.
The most common symptoms include:
This red, irritating, and painful rash tends to spread quickly and can be accompanied by fever, chills, and an all-around sick feeling.
Children with eczema and acne are at higher risk, as scratched open sores are a primary target of bacteria. For this reason, cellulitis in children can also stem from Chickenpox and bug bites.
Other bites – both animal and human – are also main contributors.
Cellulitis is also seen in diabetics who do not exhibit cuts or abrasions. This is largely due to their medications suppressing the body’s immune system.
Any potential skin infection that appears to be spreading on your child’s body should be examined promptly by a pediatric provider.
However, there are some particularly urgent reasons to seek medical attention:
- If a rash or skin condition appears on or near the face. Orbital Cellulitis – involving the eye or eyelid – can be potentially serious and requires close observation. This is sometimes an extension of another illness, such as sinus infection.
- If your child has diabetes or another autoimmune disorder.
- If your child has been bitten by a dog, animal, or person.
- If red streaks develop from site of scrape or cut. These are caused by swollen lymph vessels.
A cellulitis diagnosis is almost always based on a preliminary discussion and thorough examination. Blood cultures are occasionally ordered for younger children, to ensure that bacteria haven’t entered the bloodstream.
Hospitalization is sometimes needed in extreme cases or for infants, but most often cellulitis can be treated at home with antibiotics.
Although not contagious, cellulitis in children is significantly unpleasant. To prevent its occurrence, be sure to treat scrapes and cuts immediately. First clean with soap and warm water. Treat with an antibiotic ointment and cover with a bandage to ward off infection.
Children are active. They get plenty of bumps, bruises, and scrapes. Protective equipment should be provided, whenever necessary. Helmets, knee pads, and clothing with long sleeves go a long way in preventing minor injuries that can create huge problems.
If you believe your child may be suffering from cellulitis, don’t delay. KinderMender offers four convenient locations in Maryland, and is open seven days a week throughout the year. Our pediatric specialists are adept at making a swift, yet informed, diagnosis, and can help your son or daughter be back up on his or her feet in no time.