Cellulitis is a serious infection that spreads under the skin, affecting soft tissues such as the skin itself and the fat underneath it. Bacteria are the most common culprits, but very occasionally a fungus is responsible.
Cellulitis is not contagious, but it can strike anyone with broken skin or damaged tissue. Cellulitis infections occur most commonly on the legs, arms, or face. Facial infections are found mostly in infants and seniors. In children, about 1 in 12 cases of facial cellulitis leads to meningitis.
Cellulitis occurs in different forms. Periorbital cellulitis occurs around the eye sockets. Erysipelas results in raised, firm, bright red patches of skin and is caused by Streptococcus bacteria. Necrotizing fasciitis is an infection that occurs below the skin.