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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 painful, hot, swollen area of skin. It usually looks red, but this may be less obvious on brown or black 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 painful, hot, swollen area of skin. It usually looks red, but this may be less obvious on brown or black skin.

Symptoms of cellulitis

Cellulitis makes your skin painful, hot and swollen. The area usually looks red, but this may be less obvious on brown or black skin.

Your skin may also be blistered, and you can also have swollen, painful glands.

You can get cellulitis on any part of your body, such as:

Cellulitis 1
Hands – causing swelling in your fingers or the back of your hand

Cellulitis 2
Feet – sometimes near toes if you have athlete's foot

Cellulitis 3
Legs – usually the lower legs

S_0321_Ocular_cellulitis_M1300507.png
Eye – which is very serious. The white part of your eye may become red, but this does not always happen

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, a doctor 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.

Contact a GP if you do not start to feel better 2 to 3 days after starting antibiotics.

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 cellulitis is severe, you might be referred 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 and 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.