Several factors can place you at greater risk of developing cellulitis:

  • Known injury. Any cut, fracture, burn or even a scrape increases your risk of cellulitis because the injury gives bacteria an entry point.
  • Weakened immune system. Conditions that weaken your immune system leave you more susceptible to infections, such as cellulitis. Conditions that can weaken your immune system include diabetes, chronic leukemias, HIV/AIDS, chronic kidney disease, liver disease and circulation disorders. The use of certain medications, such as corticosteroids, also can weaken your immune system.
  • Skin conditions. Certain skin disorders, such as eczema, athlete's foot, chickenpox and shingles, cause breaks in the skin and increase your risk of cellulitis.
  • Chronic swelling of your arms or legs (lymphedema). Swollen tissue may crack, leaving your skin vulnerable to bacterial infection.
  • History of cellulitis. People who previously have had cellulitis, especially of the lower leg, may be more prone to develop it again.
  • Intravenous drug use. People who inject illegal drugs have a higher risk of developing cellulitis.
  • Obesity. Being overweight or obese increases your risk not only of developing cellulitis but also of having recurring episodes.
Feb. 23, 2012