The bacteria that cause cellulitis can spread rapidly, entering lymph nodes and your bloodstream. Recurrent episodes of cellulitis may damage the lymphatic drainage system and cause chronic swelling of the affected limb.
In rare cases, the infection can spread to the deep layer of tissue called the fascial lining. Flesh-eating strep (necrotizing fasciitis) is an example of a deep-layer infection. It represents an extreme emergency.
Feb. 11, 2015
- Cellulitis. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec10/ch119/ch119b.html. Accessed Dec. 7, 2014.
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- Keller EC, et al. Distinguishing cellulitis from its mimics. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2012;79:547.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Cellulitis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2009.
- Skin care. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/skin-care.html. Accessed Dec. 8, 2014.