Summer is already starting, the parks are full and the beaches are open. With summer fun and vacation can also come a few skin conditions that can be a bit of a nuisance to parents and children. While protecting your little one’s skin is important year round, during the summer months, more of the skin is exposed and some added precautions may be needed. There are a variety of common summer skin conditions that parents should be aware of. Each week we at Premier Pediatrics, will feature a different common condition and how to prevent and treat it.
What is cellulitis?
Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and underlying tissue that can affect any body part. Cellulitis is almost always caused by a bacteria. Typically, the infection occurs when there is a break in the skin allowing bacteria to enter and cause infection. The most common body parts that develop cellulitis are the face, arms and legs.
Are there risk factors for developing cellulitis?
As mentioned any disruption in the skin can make it more likely for the infection to develop. For example, recent scrapes or cuts of open insect bites are common portals of entry in young children. However, it is important to note that cellulitis can develop without having actually seen an open wound or cut. During the summer it is important to protect your little ones from insect bites as best you can (more to come on this topic) and make sure all wounds are properly cleaned.
What are the symptoms of cellulitis?
The most common symptoms are redness of the skin with accompanying tenderness of the skin. The skin can also feel warm to the touch and be swollen. The symptoms will usually worsen over time with increasing redness, swelling and tenderness. More concerning symptoms that can occur with cellulitis are fevers, poor oral intake, chills, red streaking of the skin away from the infection site or lethargy. Cellulitis is not typically itchy but is often very tender. Common body parts for cellulitis include the arms, legs and the eyelids. Cellulitis is diagnosed by your pediatrician through clinical history and physical examination. Cellulitis is not contagious.
How is cellulitis treated?
Luckily, most cases of cellulitis are mild and are very responsive to antibiotic treatment. Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate oral antibiotic to treat this type of infection. Close follow up may be needed to make sure that your little one is on the correct antibiotic. In some cases, cellulitis is considered an emergency. If your child has fevers, severe pain, red streaking away from the infection site, a compromised immune system or chills you will want to seek immediate emergency care. If you have any concerns about your child you should always contact your pediatrician. Early recognition and treatment is important in preventing complications from cellulitis.
Stay tuned for our weekly series on summer skin ailments and how to prevent and treat them!