[건강톡톡] Legs that are red and swollen… maybe not an insect bite

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What if your feet or legs are swollen, red, and feel hot? You may have been bitten by an insect such as a mosquito, but cellulitis (cellulitis) should also be suspected. This is a bacterial infection in which bacteria penetrate under the skin and cause an inflammatory reaction. What is cellulitis, which can cause pain in the feet or legs, which can make movement difficult?

Q. What are the symptoms of cellulitis?
Cellulitis occurs mainly in the legs. There is erythema and tenderness, which are localized red spots, and after severe chills and fever appear, the erythema becomes clear and spreads rapidly to the surroundings. The affected area feels warm to the touch, and when pressed with a finger, the skin enters and is painful.

Unlike Erypsipelas, which is an acute contagious disease, the borders of the lesion are not raised or distinct. However, small blisters may form on the surface or the middle part may become purulent and become like a hard nodule, which then bursts and pus comes out.

Blisters are more common in older people and people with diabetes, and they take longer to heal. If purple patches appear (hemorrhagic cellulitis), the skin may also become necrotic.
– Hidak Dermatology Consulting Doctor Ahn Hee-tae (Yemiwon Dermatology Clinic)

Q. How is cellulitis treated?
If cellulitis is diagnosed, antibiotics are taken. In addition, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are sometimes taken. If the swelling or redness does not continue to improve, you may be hospitalized and given intravenous antibiotics.

If antibiotics are not given enough in the beginning, the inflammation can progress to an abscess (pus). An ultrasound scan is sometimes done to check for an abscess. After an ultrasound examination, it is decided whether or not to drain.
– Hidak Orthopedic Consulting Doctor Seon Sang-gyu (Elephant Orthopedic Surgery Clinic)

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Q. How to manage cellulitis at home?
If the site of occurrence is the foot, it is recommended to raise the leg higher than the heart by compressing the leg. Instead of putting ice on your skin directly, apply cold compresses by wrapping the ice in a towel so that the cold air spreads slowly. The more frequent the cold compress, the better.

Then, if the reddened area rises to the ankle or calf, hospitalization may be required. First, you should apply cold compresses at home, and your feet should be immobilized to minimize movement. If the fever and redness continue to spread, it is recommended to go to the hospital immediately.
– Hidak Orthopedic Consulting Doctor Jeonggwan Kim (Balsan Orthopedic Surgery Clinic)

* This article has been reconstructed from a Hidak expert’s answer.

Help = Hidak Consultant Ahn Hee-tae (Yemiwon Dermatology Clinic dermatologist), Hidak Consultant Sun Sang-gyu (Elephant Orthopedic Clinic orthopedic surgeon), Hidak Consultant Kim Jeong-gwan (Balsan Orthopedic Clinic orthopedic surgeon)

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