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Cellulitis

Cellulitis is an infection caused by bacteria getting into the deeper layers of your skin.

The main symptom of cellulitis is a red, painful, swollen area of skin.

Cellulitis usually needs to be treated with antibiotics. It can be serious if it's not treated quickly.

Things that increase your risk of cellulitis include poor circulation, inactivity and a weak immune system.

Read more on the NHS website.

The main symptom of cellulitis is a red, painful, swollen area of skin.

See a GP if your skin is:

These are symptoms of cellulitis.

You can get cellulitis on any part of your body, but it usually affects:

Swollen hands caused by cellulitisHands – causing swollen fingers.

A foot affected by cellulitisFeet – sometimes near toes if you have athlete's foot.

Cellulitis on the lower legsLegs – usually the lower legs.

Read more on the NHS website.

Cellulitis usually needs to be treated with antibiotics. It can be serious if it's not treated quickly.

Medical treatments

For mild cellulitis affecting a small area of skin, your GP will prescribe antibiotic tablets – usually for a week.

Your symptoms might get worse in the first 48 hours of treatment, but should then start to improve.

It's important to keep taking antibiotics until they're finished, even when you feel better.

Most people make a full recovery after 7 to 10 days.

If your cellulitis is severe, your GP might refer you to hospital for treatment.

Self-care

As well as taking antibiotics for cellulitis, you can help speed up your recovery by:

  • taking paracetamol or ibuprofen for the pain
  • raising the affected body part on a pillow or chair when you're sitting or lying down to reduce swelling
  • regularly moving the joint near the affected body part, such as your wrist or ankle, to stop it getting stiff
  • drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
  • not wearing compression stockings until you're better

You can reduce the chances of getting cellulitis again by:

  • keeping skin clean and well moisturised
  • cleaning any cuts or wounds, or using antiseptic cream
  • preventing cuts and scrapes by wearing appropriate clothing and footwear
  • wearing gloves if working outside

Read more on the NHS website.

Things that increase your risk of cellulitis include poor circulation, inactivity and a weak immune system.

Read more on the NHS website.