Cellulitis is usually caused when bacteria enter a wound or area where there is no skin. The most common bacteria that cause cellulitis include:
Staph and strep bacteria are commonly found on the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth and nose in healthy people. The infection happens when there is a break in the skin that allows the bacteria to enter. Other causes may include human or animal bites, or injuries that happen in water.
Each person may experience symptoms differently. Common symptoms include:
Some cases of cellulitis are an emergency. Always talk with your healthcare provider immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:
The symptoms of cellulitis may look like other skin conditions. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider will consider your age, overall health and severity of the condition when determining the appropriate treatment for you.
Getting treated right away can help prevent the spread of cellulitis. Treatment may include:
Based on the physical exam, your healthcare provider may treat you in the hospital, depending on the severity of the cellulitis. In the hospital, you may get antibiotics and fluids through an intravenous (IV) catheter.
To prevent cellulitis:
If skin breaks happen, keep the area clean and use an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment. Watch for signs of infection. If you have diabetes, visually check your feet for signs of skin breaks or infection. Also, don’t cut out warts or calluses, and don’t cut toenails too short.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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