Stasis dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition which manifests in the lower legs of people over the age of fifty. Cellulitis is a serious bacterial infection that also usually affects the lower legs but can occur anywhere in the body.
Stasis dermatitis appears as darkened, itchy, irritated skin in addition to swelling, pain and open sores. With cellulitis, the affected area will be warm, red, tender and swollen, and it will be accompanied by fever, chills and swollen glands.
Stasis dermatitis is caused by fluid build-up and swelling due to poor blood circulation, varicose veins and blood clots. Cellulitis occurs when bacteria enters the body through a break in the skin.
Stasis dermatitis risk factors include varicose veins, high blood pressure, heart conditions and obesity. Developing cellulitis is possible if you have diabetes, a weak immune system, a skin condition such as stasis dermatitis or if you have recently undergone surgery.
Stasis dermatitis is treated by elevating legs to improve circulation, wearing compression stockings and using diuretics to reduce fluid retention and swelling. Cellulitis is treated with prescription antibiotics for up to two weeks.
Stasis dermatitis may be prevented by exercising, losing extra weight and sleeping with your legs elevated above the heart. Prevent cellulitis by washing wounds with soap and water, using topical antibiotics and covering them with clean bandages.