Cellulitis is a bacterial infection often caused by streptococcus and staphyloccus bacteria. Facial cellulitis can be extremely dangerous because bacteria can spread to the eyes, causing vision loss, or to the brain, causing meningitis. Facial cellulitis is diagnosed by the appearance of redness and swelling on the face that most often affects the skin on or around the eyes, nose or cheeks. Facial cellulitis needs prompt medical treatment with antibiotics as soon as symptoms are observed, to prevent bacteria from spreading.
Facial cellulitis infects the deep tissue layers of the skin, which makes the skin redden and swell. The skin is warm to the touch. Pores may appear dilated and larger than normal, giving the skin an orange peel-like appearance. The swollen areas of skin may be very painful to touch. Swollen skin on the face may also be very itchy. Sometimes the tongue feels swollen, warm and tender. Lymph nodes in the neck may be very tender to touch. If the infection begins to spread, red streaks may be seen extending from the area of infection. Large blisters known as bullae may appear on the reddened areas.
Fever, chills, lethargy, irritability, headache, confusion, body aches and discomfort are common symptoms of facial cellulitis. Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting may also occur. Fever may cause a rise in the pulse rate known as tachycardia. If facial cellulitis continues to spread unchecked, blood pressure can drop to dangerously low levels and shock may occur.
If cellulitis is present around the eyes, the eyelids may be swollen shut and shiny red or purple, Medline Plus states. Orbital cellulitis, which affects the area around the eye, is a medical emergency. Cellulitis around the eye can cause decreased vision and pain when moving the eyes. The eye may appear to bulge out. Immediate treatment is needed to prevent permanent vision loss from damage to the optic nerve, according to Q-Notes for Adult Medicine.