Cellulitis in Children: Recognizing the Dangerous Infection

24 Feb 2018

Cellulitis in children, and even in adults, is a serious problem that requires prompt treatment. Cellulitis in leg is a skin infection usually caused by bacteria, such as strep or staph, entering an open wound, although it can occasionally occur in skin that is intact. If you suspect your child has cellulitis, it is important to start treatment right away to avoid dangerous complications.
My Experience with Cellulitis in a Child

Our experience with cellulitis began when my oldest son was two. He had been outside playing with my husband, and when they returned I noticed that he had an insect bite on his lower leg. He is sensitive to mosquito bites, and they commonly cause more swelling for him than the average person, so I assumed that was all we were dealing with.

After his bath, I put anti-itch insect bite medication on the spot and he went to bed. We slept late the next morning, and when he woke up I noticed the spot looked more red than before, and seemed hot. I put antibiotic ointment on it, but over the next few hours it seemed to be growing in size. I tried calling my doctor, but he was already out for the day. My son then began running a fever. I immediately took him to the emergency room, and the doctor there told me that he had cellulitis.

He was given the oral antibiotic Bactrim, a shot of the antibiotic Rocephin, and I was instructed to keep applying antibiotic ointment to the spot. The antibiotic treatment led to a separate major ordeal, a battle with C. Difficile and pseudomembranous colitis, which you can read about by clicking here, if you are interested.

Symptoms of Cellulitis in a Child (or anyone else)

Cellulitis often causes swelling, redness (oftentimes more “angry red” looking than the average insect bite), fever, chills, warmth at the site of infection, weakness, red streaks coming from the originally infected spot, and sometimes even blisters on the affected area.

Causes of Cellulitis in a Child (or anyone else)

When bacteria enters an open wound, it can spread and cause the infection. According to Mayo Clinic, some insects and spiders can transmit cellulitis-causing bacteria to you at the time of their bite.

Risks of Cellulitis in a Child (or anyone else)

Cellulitis is not something to take lightly. If it is not treated it can spread beyond the skin and cause major life-threatening infections. Other serious risks are: meningitis (associated with cellulitis on the face), arthritis caused by the bacteria, and kidney inflammation.

Treatment for Cellulitis in a Child (or anyone else)

Despite the risks, the good news is that cellulitis can be treated with antibiotics. You may also be advised to use warm, wet compresses, and rest the affected area.

My Child’s Recovery from Cellulitis

After being on the antibiotics for a few days, my son’s leg was better, and he has not had the problem since. The cellulitis was easy to treat and get rid of. I am glad that I took him to the emergency room when I did, because it is really amazing how fast cellulitis can spread. Seeing how quickly the spot grew in one day, I hate to think about what could happen if someone delayed getting treatment for their child’s cellulitis.

 

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