Cellulitis: 9 Frequently Asked Questions Answered

December 06, 2018

Cellulitis is a common and potentially serious bacterial skin infection. Here are 9 most frequently asked questions answered

Cellulitis is a common skin infection caused by bacteria like Streptococcus, Staphylococcus etc. In fact, there is an increasing number of cases of a staphylococcus infection called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is quite serious.

Here are 9 most frequently asked questions answered:

1. What part of the body does Cellulitis affect and how?
Cellulitis is most commonly seen on the skin of the lower limbs but can affect anywhere in the body. It first appears as a red, swollen patch that feels hot and tender when touched. The redness and swelling often spread rapidly.

2. Are there factors that increase the risk of Cellulitis?

Since the bacteria generally enter the body through a break in the skin, cuts and injuries are key risk factors. Weakened immune system, diabetes or obesity are other health conditions that can cause Cellulitis.

Also read about -All you need to know about Diabetes: Types, Symptoms & Tests
Skin conditions like eczema or previous history of Cellulitis may also make you susceptible to it.

3. Are there symptoms to look out for?
Redness, swelling, pain, tenderness and dimpling on the skin are key symptoms of Cellulitis. Fever and warmth in and around the area of Cellulitis is classic of this condition.
If there is a high-grade fever, drowsiness and swelling rush to your doctor immediately.

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4. What is the diagnosis of Cellulitis & tests that will be required?
When the doctor takes a look at the area that is affected, he would be able to make a diagnosis of Cellulitis.
The most commonly advised tests are:

5. Any kind of additional care needs to be taken with conditions like Eczema?
It will be important to cover the wound with a bandage, apply antiseptic, emollients of moisturizing creams as advised by the doctor.

6. Any special care required if I have Diabetes?
Diabetes is one of the risk factors of Cellulitis and so it is important to take the precautions seriously.

  • Trim finger and toenails, inspect feet daily for any cuts or injuries and promptly treat any superficial skin infections like athletes foot etc.
  • Wear appropriate footwear
  • Keep blood sugar levels under control
  • Visit a doctor immediately in case of any injury or cut

7. What are the ways Cellulitis can be treated?
The doctor will generally advise an antibiotic for a course of 5 to 10 days. Ensure the whole course is completed or it may lead to drug resistance.
Severe cases of Cellulitis may require hospital treatment with intravenous antibiotics. Anti-pyretic medications like Paracetamol or even Intravenous fluids in case of dehydration may be advised.

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8. Are there any lifestyle precautions I can take to prevent Cellulitis?
One important precaution is to keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water, fresh fruit juices and vegetable soups.
Also, treat your high-grade fever with cold compresses.

9. Are there any complications with Cellulitis?
Complications of Cellulitis are seen in those with chronic diseases like Diabetes and immunocompromised individuals.

  • Frequent Cellulitis can damage the lymphatic drainage system and cause chronic swelling of the affected limb.
  • The infection tends to spread to other parts of the body
  • In rare cases, Necrotizing Fasciitis (death of the underlying tissue) can develop. This is a medical emergency and needs immediate medical attention.


Article by Dr. Chittimalla Ajaiya Kishoar, MBBS, MS(General Surgery)
Consultant Surgeon, CallHealth
Have a question? Consult Dr. Chittimalla online.

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