What is Cellulitis?
July 27, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

What is Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a common bacterial skin infection. Openings of the skin from any injury allow bacteria to enter and affect the underneath tissue. The affected skin gets inflamed and red and is painful as well. 

Cellulitis can spread to your lymph nodes and blood circulation and cause various serious symptoms such as fever, chills, shaking, etc.

Treatment is required to avoid long-term illness and reduce the severity of the infection. 

What are the causes of cellulitis?

Staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria are the main cause of cellulitis. These bacteria move into the skin when it’s cracked. The cracks may occur due to any cuts, bug bites or surgical wounds, etc. Cellulitis can take place anywhere in your body but the most common area that gets affected is the lower leg. 

What are the risk factors of cellulitis? 

Various factors increase the risk of developing the infection. Some of them are mentioned below 

       Skin injury 

       Drugs used through IV route 

       diabetes, leukemia, and AIDS

       History of cellulitis



       Athlete’s foot


       Swelling of the legs and arms


If left untreated, cellulitis can cause serious complications like

       Persistent swelling 

       Severe tissue damage 



       Damage to infected internal organs 


       Infection in bones, muscles, or heart valves. If this happens immediate treatment is needed. 

What are the signs and symptoms of cellulitis?

The signs and symptoms usually occur on one side of the body. They may include:

       Pain in the affected area

       The skin of your hands and fingers becomes inflamed, red, tight, and glossy

       Abscess formation with pus

       The affected area becomes warm and numb to touch

       Rash that grows rapidly

       Leaking of yellow, clear fluid. 








       Nausea and vomiting

       The white part of your eye becomes red 

How can I prevent the infection?

You can prevent the spread and the seriousness of the infection by taking the following preventive measures: 

       Avoid taking paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain

       Moisturize your skin frequently to prevent cracking 

       Always wear protective pieces of equipment while playing sports

       Always consult a doctor if you have an athlete’s foot and get the treatment 

       Try to keep your skin clean on a daily basis 

       Consume a sufficient amount of fluids to avoid dehydration 

       Use antiseptic creams on cuts or wounds 

       Do not scratch your skin after an insect bite 

       Quit smoking

       Limit your alcohol consumption 

What is the diagnosis of cellulitis? 

The doctor will take your medical history and will assess your symptoms. Other procedures are also recommended upon your doctor’s consultation to confirm the diagnosis. These procedures include 

       Taking a swab or biopsy to observe the specific causative agent

       An X-ray is performed to get a clear image of any object under your skin

       A fluid sample is taken and sent to the lab for analysis 

What is the treatment of cellulitis? 

Treatment includes taking oral antibiotics for 5 to 14 days, along with painkillers as prescribed by your doctor. Take rest until the symptoms get mild, but if the infection does not go away even after 7 to 10 days of taking antibiotics, long-term treatment is needed. For more information, book an online appointment at Shifa4U.

If the patient comes into the emergency with a high temperature, low blood pressure, an infection not healed by antibiotics, and a weak immune system, antibiotics through the intravenous route are recommended.

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.