Cellulitis treatment may require a hospital stay if:
- You are very sick (very high temperature, blood pressure problems, nausea and vomiting that does not go away)
- You have been on antibiotics and the infection is getting worse
- Your immune system is not working well (due to cancer, HIV)
- You have an infection around your eyes
Most of the time, treatment with oral antibiotics and close follow-up is enough. Treatment is focused on controlling the infection and preventing complications.
You may receive antibiotics to control the infection, and analgesics to control pain.
Raise the infected area higher than your heart to reduce swelling. Rest until your symptoms improve.
It is possible to be cured with 7 – 10 days of treatment. Cellulitis may be more severe in people with chronic diseases and those who are more prone to infection because their immune system is not working properly (immunosuppressed).
People with fungal infections of the feet may have cellulitis that keeps coming back. The cracks in the skin offer an opening for bacteria to get inside.
- Bone infection (osteomyelitis)
- Inflammation of the lymph vessels (lymphangitis)
- Meningitis (if cellulitis is on the face)
- Sepsis, shock
- Tissue death (gangrene)
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Call your health care provider if:
- You have symptoms of cellulitis
- You are being treated for cellulitis and you develop new symptoms, such as persistent fever, drowsiness, lethargy, blistering over the cellulitis, or red streaks that spread
Seek medical attention immediately if the cellulitis is on your face.
Review Date : 4/17/2009
Reviewed By : Michael Lehrer, MD, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.