About cellulitis

What is cellulitis?

  • Cellulitis is a spreading bacterial infection of the skin and tissues beneath the skin.
  • Staphylococcus and Streptococcus are the types of bacteria that are usually responsible for cellulitis, although many types of bacteria can cause the condition.
  • Sometimes cellulitis appears in areas where the skin has broken open, such as the skin near ulcers or surgical wounds.
  • Symptoms and signs include redness, tenderness, swelling, and warmth of the affected area.
  • Cellulitis is not contagious.
  • Cellulitis is treated with oral or intravenous antibiotics.

What are the symptoms for cellulitis?

Fevers symptom was found in the cellulitis condition

Possible signs and symptoms of cellulitis, which usually occur on one side of the body, include:

  • Red area of skin that tends to expand
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Pain
  • Warmth
  • Fever
  • Red spots
  • Blisters
  • Skin dimpling

When to see a doctor

It's important to identify and treat cellulitis early because the condition can spread rapidly throughout your body.

Seek emergency care if:

  • You have a red, swollen, tender Rash or a Rash that's changing rapidly
  • You have a fever

See your doctor, preferably that day, if:

  • You have a Rash that's red, swollen, tender and warm — and it's expanding — but without fever

What are the causes for cellulitis?

Cellulitis occurs when bacteria, most commonly streptococcus and staphylococcus, enter through a crack or break in your skin. The incidence of a more serious staphylococcus infection called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is increasing.

Although cellulitis can occur anywhere on your body, the most common location is the lower leg. Bacteria are most likely to enter disrupted areas of skin, such as where you've had recent surgery, cuts, puncture wounds, an ulcer, athlete's foot or dermatitis.

Animal bites can cause cellulitis. Bacteria can also enter through areas of dry, flaky skin or swollen skin.

What are the treatments for cellulitis?

Cellulitis treatment usually includes a prescription oral antibiotic. Within three days of starting an antibiotic, let your doctor know whether the infection is responding to treatment. You'll need to take the antibiotic for as long as your doctor directs, usually five to 10 days but possibly as long as 14 days.

In most cases, signs and symptoms of cellulitis disappear after a few days. You may need to be hospitalized and receive antibiotics through your veins (intravenously) if:

  • Signs and symptoms don't respond to oral antibiotics
  • Signs and symptoms are extensive
  • You have a high fever

Usually, doctors prescribe a drug that's effective against both streptococci and staphylococci. It's important that you take the medication as directed and finish the entire course of medication, even after you feel better.

Your doctor also might recommend elevating the affected area, which may speed recovery.

What are the risk factors for cellulitis?

Several factors put you at increased risk of cellulitis:

  • Injury. Any cut, fracture, burn or scrape gives bacteria an entry point.
  • Weakened immune system. Conditions that weaken your immune system — such as diabetes, leukemia and HIV/AIDS — leave you more susceptible to infections. Certain medications also can weaken your immune system.
  • Skin conditions. Conditions such as eczema, athlete's foot and shingles can cause breaks in the skin, which give bacteria an entry point.
  • Chronic swelling of your arms or legs (lymphedema). This condition sometimes follows surgery.
  • History of cellulitis. Having had cellulitis before makes you prone to develop it again.
  • Obesity. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing cellulitis.

Is there a cure/medications for cellulitis?

Antibiotic therapy, either given orally or through an IV (full course, usually 5 to 10 days), is the first line of treatment for Cellulitis. Within three days of starting an antibiotic, let your health care provider know whether the infection responds to treatment.


  • For non-purulent cellulitis: Oral administration of 500 mg cephalexin every 6 hours for a minimum of five days. 300 to 450 mg of Clindamycin, administered at the same interval, is the alternative for patients who show an allergic response to lactamase.
  • For patients with purulent cellulitis, Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus colonization, cellulitis with an abscess, extensive puncture wounds, or a history of intravenous drug use; an oral antibiotic regime involves 800 mg/160 mg trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole twice a day for five days, in addition to 500 mg cephalexin every six hours.
  • Severe cellulitis, in patients, without co-morbidities, may require intravenous cefazolin and subsequent de-escalation to Cephalexin for five days. In presence of the risk factors, patients should receive initial therapy with vancomycin and subsequent de-escalation to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole.
  • Vancomycin plus piperacillin-tazobactam or a carbapenem in the course of treatment for immunocompromised patients, who require a parenteral antibiotic.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be given to ease the pain, as well as keep your fever down.
  • In rare, severe cases, people may need surgery, i.e., to open and drain an abscess or pus that has collected in the tissue or remove the dead cell.

Erythema,Generalized malaise,Fatigue,Fevers
Dermal inflammation

Video related to cellulitis