Author: Alyssa Sota, Office Manager

What is cellulitis?
Cellulitis is a type of bacterial skin infection that affects the deep layers of our skin.   MRSA, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus are two common bacteria that can cause cellulitis.  Bacteria enters a tear in our skin resulting in infection.  Cellulitis can appear on any part of the body, but is usually found on arms, lower legs, and the face.

An example of symptoms can be redness of the area, warm to the touch, pain, skin dimpling, tenderness, swelling, fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes.  The affected area can spread to other areas.  Complications of cellulitis can include infection in the bloodstream or to other tissue.

Who’s at risk of getting cellulitis?
Individuals with compromised immune systems with conditions like diabetes or HIV.  Any cut, fracture, burn or a scrape.  Bug bites, animal bites, open wounds, blisters, surgical incisions, athletes’ foot, dermatitis, eczema, lymphedema and more.  Even being overweight or obese increases your risk of cellulitis.

To get the appropriate prognosis, you must be evaluated by a physician.  Sometimes a skin, blood, puss, or tissue culture is done.

Oral and intravenous antibiotics are used to treat cellulitis, but do not always kill the bacteria.  To name a few oral antibiotics like clindamycin, doxycycline, and cephalexin can be used to treat cellulitis.  Sometimes IV antibiotics are required.  If there is an abscess, sometimes the provider must cut it open and drain it.

Wash your wound gently and daily with soap and water.  Apply protective ointment and cover the area with a bandage daily.  Keep it clean and dry.  Watch for signs of infection.  Trim your fingernails and toenails carefully, so the surrounding skin is not injured.  Moisturize your skin to prevent cracking and peeling.

Complication of cellulitis can be dangerous.  It can cause tissue damage or tissue death.  Cellulitis can also spread to the blood, bones, lymph system, heart, or nervous system.  Left untreated, these infections can turn into amputation, shock, or even death.


The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

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