Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and deep underlying tissues. Group A strep (streptococcal) bacteria are the most common cause. The bacteria enter your body when you get an injury such as a bruise, burn, surgical cut, or wound.

Symptoms include

  • Fever and chills
  • Swollen glands or lymph nodes
  • A rash with painful, red, tender skin. The skin may blister and scab over.

Your health care provider may take a sample or culture from your skin or do a blood test to identify the bacteria causing infection. Treatment is with antibiotics. They may be oral in mild cases, or intravenous (by IV) for more severe cases.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Symptoms of Cellulitis

The following features are indicative of Cellulitis:
  • fever
  • pain or tenderness in the affected area
  • skin redness or inflammation that gets bigger with the spread of infection
  • skin sore or rash that starts suddenly, and grows quickly in the first 24 hours
  • tight, glossy, or stretched appearance of the skin
  • warm skin in the area of redness
  • joint stiffness from swelling of the tissue over the joint
  • hair loss at the injection site
  • nausea
  • vomiting

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Common Causes of Cellulitis

The following are the most common causes of Cellulitis:
  • staphylococcus bacterial infection
  • streptococcus bacterial infection

Risk Factors for Cellulitis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Cellulitis:
  • cracks or peeling skin between the toes
  • history of peripheral vascular disease
  • injury or trauma with a break in the skin
  • insect bites and stings
  • animal bites
  • human bites
  • ulcers from certain diseases
  • use of corticosteroid medications or medications that suppress the immune system
  • wound from a recent surgery

Prevention of Cellulitis

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Cellulitis. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • wash hands daily with soap and water
  • apply a protective ointment or cream on wounds
  • cover wounds with a bandage
  • inspect feet daily if you are suffering with diabetes
  • moisturise the skin regularly
  • carefully trim fingernails and toenails in case of diabetes
  • wear footwear and gloves to protect hands and feet from any injury

Occurrence of Cellulitis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Cellulitis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Cellulitis can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Cellulitis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Cellulitis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Cellulitis:
  • Physical examination: To check redness, swelling, abscess or other skin problems
  • Blood culture test: To check for bacteria in the blood
  • Complete blood count: To count total number of blood cells
  • Biopsy: To diagnose skin diseases or infections

Doctor for Diagnosis of Cellulitis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Cellulitis:
  • General Practitioner
  • Dermatologist

Complications of Cellulitis if untreated

Yes, Cellulitis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Cellulitis is left untreated:
  • blood infection
  • bone infection
  • inflammation of the lymph vessels
  • inflammation of the heart
  • meningitis
  • shock
  • tissue death

Procedures for Treatment of Cellulitis

The following procedures are used to treat Cellulitis:
  • Surgery: To treat severe cases of cellulitis

Self-care for Cellulitis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Cellulitis:
  • Wash wound daily with soap and water: Help prevent cellulitis and other infections
  • Apply a protective cream or ointment: Helps providing adequate protection
  • Cover wound with a bandage: Help prevent cellulitis and other infections

Time for Treatment of Cellulitis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Cellulitis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 7/17/2019.
This page provides information for Cellulitis.
Staphylococcal Infections
Streptococcal Infections

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