Diseases & Conditions


CellulitisCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a disease that is symptomized by rashes and skin infection, sometimes penetrating the skin and affecting the tissues. They begin as a small area that starts to become tender and swells with a noticeable tinge of redness. It is usually accompanied by fever, chills and sweats. Though it may occur anywhere on the human body, the lower parts of the legs are the most affected.

Causes of Cellulitis

Microbes need an entry into the human body to be able to surface in the form of infections. The bacteria, streptococci and staphylococci, are the causative agents of Cellulitis. Most cases of this disease are through a break in the skin caused by ulcers, burns, bites, grazes, cuts and other skin conditions. In odd cases, it may enter directly through the blood system or the lymphatic system.

Medications for Cellulitis

Some examples of oral antibiotics for cellulitis are Penicillin, Flucloxaccillin, Cefuroxime and Erythromycin. In more severe conditions, intravenous antibiotics have to be used instead of oral drugs. These are usually penicillin based drugs like Penicillin-G and Flucloxaccillin; sometimes, cephalosporins like Cefotaxime and Cephazolin can also be used. There may be cases where the patient is already diagnosed with a physical disorder like diabetes or stress in which case broader cover of the drugs is required. Amoxycillin and Clavulanic Acid can be used in these cases. In case the patient is allergic to penicillin, Clindamycin and Vancomycin can also be used.

Prevention of Cellulitis

People with risk factors need to have a higher level of cleanliness and a general awareness of this disease to prevent Cellulitis; in case of a skin wound,

  • Wash it regularly with soap and water
  • Apply antibiotic cream or ointment
  • Keep the area from infection

Risk factors of Cellulitis

People who are more susceptible to Cellulitis include those who satisfy one or more of the following conditions:

  • Obese people
  • People with a weak immune system
  • Diabetics
  • Problems with transfer and circulation of blood in the stream
  • Recent affliction with skin disorders like chickenpox and shingles
  • People suffering from lymphodema
  • People who have already had this disease before
  • Illegal drugs and substance users
  • People from high density population regions

Symptoms of Cellulitis

Whether Cellulitis occurs in the limbs or any part of the body, it can always be symptomized by the following conditions:

  • Warm and tender skin
  • Affected area marked by swollen and reddened skin surface
  • Irritation and pain in the skin region
  • Sometimes marked by blisters

Occasionally, the patient may have a fever, chills and nausea due to the infection. Shivering is present in most cases.

Treatment for Cellulitis

The treatment for Cellulitis begins with antibiotics; depending on the location of the infection, cause and severity of the affectation, the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic drug for the medical condition. Oral antibiotics are sufficient for mild cellulitis. Applying warmth on the infected area and using trusses to elevate the infected area can help alleviate the pain. In case of severe conditions, it is best to provide intravenous antibiotic doses. A course of dosage lasts for ten days to two weeks in general though some cases need the treatment to be continued on for 2 months. When intravenous drugs are administered, it is better to wean the patient to oral doses after 3 days if surgical exploration is not required.

Types of Cellulitis

Cellulitis commonly affects the limbs of the body, targeting vulnerable sites in the legs, arms, hands and feet. There are different types of Cellulitis based on the part of the body they affect.

  • Orbital Cellulitis – affects the eye and eye sockets.
  • Peri-orbital Cellulitis – of the eyelids.
  • Facial Cellulitis – affecting parts of the face.
  • Peri-anal Cellulitis – affects the anal and rectal regions.
  • Breast Cellulitis – of the chest and breast parts.