Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and tissues beneath the skin. Cellulitis usually begins as a small area of tenderness, swelling, and redness that spreads to adjacent skin. As this red area begins to enlarge, the affected person may develop a fever -- sometimes with chills and sweats -- and swollen lymph nodes ("swollen glands") near the area of infected skin.
Unlike impetigo, which is a very superficial skin infection, cellulitis is an infection that also involves the skin's deeper layers: the dermis and subcutaneous tissue. The main bacteria responsible for cellulitis are Streptococcus and Staphylococcus ("staph"), the same bacteria that can cause impetigo. MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staph aureus) can also cause cellulitis. Sometimes, other bacteria (for example, Hemophilus influenzae, Pneumococcus, and Clostridium species) may cause cellulitis as well.
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