What is Cellulitis?

Cellulitis and erysipelas are infections of the skin.

Symptoms are redness, pain, swelling, chills, fever.

Erysipeles affects the superficial layer of the skin, cellulitis affects the deeper layers.

Normally our skin has germs superficially. Skin cuts or breaks allows the germs to enter under the skin and cause infections.

Other conditions also increase the chances of skin infections like chronic skin conditions (ex: eczema), overweight, certain medications. 

Common location of erysipelas and cellulitis are legs or arms. It can affects skin on the belly, the face, in the mouth, or around the anus.

 How is it diagnosed and treated?

You should see a health care provider immediately. Untreated skin infections can be dangerous, it can spread to the rest of the body causing complications.

Your health care provider will diagnose you and order tests if indicated.

Treatment is with oral antibiotic pills.

Please finish all the prescribed antibiotic pills even when you feel better with only a few pills. The bacteria does not die completely if you do not finish all the antibiotics prescribed to you.

 How to care for yourself?

You should do the following at home

Finish medications as prescribed. If any problems with medications, contact your health care provider immediately

Raise the arm or leg for 30 minutes 3-4 times per day to reduce swelling

Keep the infected area clean and dry

Wash your personal clothes with disinfectant detergent

Personal hygeine, wash hands frequently with soap and water.

See your health care provider immediately if you have, worsening redness, swelling, fever, pain or any worsening of health.

Your health care provider can determine if you need antibiotics changed or if you need to go to the hospital.

 Prevention

Avoid skin cuts, shower daily, maintain normal body weight, obtain instructions for skin care if you have chronic skin conditions like eczema, hand hygeine wash frequently with soap and water, shower after using public swimming pools, hot tubs.