Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and tissue just below the skin. It is common to be found on the lower legs, however it can occur anywhere on the body. While it is most common among middle-aged and elderly, it can occur in people of any age.

Cellulitis is caused by a bacterial infection, most commonly Group A streptococcal bacteria, which has entered the skin through a cut or injury and spread to the surrounding area. Cellulitis is not contagious.

Risk factors include:

  • Cuts and minor injuries to the skin

  • Conditions such as diabetes, HIV, liver or kidney disease

  • Poor circulation

  • Morbid obesity

  • Alcohol and drug abuse

  • Handling raw fish, meat, shellfish or poultry

Symptoms include:

  • Fever and chills

  • Swollen glands or lymph nodes

  • Red, painful skin that may blister and then scab over

  • Perianal cellulitis presents with itching and painful bowel movements