Cellulitis is a skin infection, usually caused by Streptococcus or Staphylococcus bacteria. Cellulitis usually develops after a break in the skin from a scrape, cut, bite, or puncture, or after a rash.
A doctor should evaluate symptoms that can occur with cellulitis, which may include:
- Painful, red, hot, swollen skin that may crack, split, or weep fluid.
- Red streaks extending from the red area toward the body (lymphangitis).
- Fever and chills.
- Drainage of pus.
- Swollen glands.
- General feeling of illness (malaise).
Facial cellulitis in children requires immediate medical attention to prevent potentially dangerous eye or brain infection. Cellulitis usually is treated with antibiotics, rest and elevation of the affected area, and warm compresses. Cellulitis may be more severe and require a hospital stay for people who have decreased blood flow (venous stasis), long-term swelling, diabetes, or an impaired immune system.
Current as of: March 12, 2014
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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