That also applies to stepping into puddles of dirty water – of which there are plenty from the recent incessant rain. “Puddles of water, especially if left to collect over a period of time, could harbour microorganisms such as bacteria that can cause cellulitis,” said Associate Professor Nisha Suyien Chandran, a senior consultant and head of Division of Dermatology in National University Hospital’s (NUH) Department of Medicine.
And if you need another reason not to break your blister, Dr Saw Yu Ting, a surgically trained podiatrist with Straits Podiatry, a member of Healthway Medical Group, has one. “The risk of developing cellulitis in this scenario is only increased if you have an open wound or skin break such as broken blisters on the foot, ankle or leg,” she said.
“If the blister that is formed from wearing poor-fitting shoes is well and intact, no bacteria will enter the body and cause an infection.”
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF CELLULITIS AND HOW COMMON IS IT?
Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and potentially, its deeper structures, said Dr Teo. “During the infection, the skin may appear red, swollen with an ‘orange peel’ look, and feel warmer than the surrounding normal skin.”
The “muscle soreness” from cellulitis could potentially be confused for post-workout delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). But, in cellulitis, there are other accompanying symptoms, including fever, chills and malaise, said Assoc Prof Chandran. “Blisters may occur on the skin if the infection and inflammation are more superficial.”
How often do doctors see this bacterial infection in Singapore? “Often, up to a few times a week,” said Dr Pan, with severe cases requiring hospitalisation and intravenous (IV) antibiotics. For general practitioners such as Dr Teo, he sees “at least one or two cases of cellulitis per month”.