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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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Posted by: Judi
Date: April 16, 2001 2:21 PM

My niece has cellulitis and it's caused her to have a massive swelling on the left side of her neck. I've heard different reasons for acquiring the illness (cat scratched with bacteria on it's nails, broken skin came in contact with someone
else who had it, etc.) What's up with cellulitis?

RE: Cellulitis
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: April 17, 2001 1:53 PM

Cellulitis is a diffuse inflammation of tissue, often caused by bacteria although it can also be caused by toxic exposure directly to the skin. There is no particular specific cause which accounts for every case, so each case must be diagnosed with history, physical exam, and sometimes lab tests. It can be life threatening or self-limiting depending on the species of bacteria or toxin involved. Because some cases can be life threatening, all cases should be considered medical emergencies.

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