Cellulitis is an infection of the deeper layers of skin and the underlying tissue. It can be serious if not treated promptly.
The infection develops suddenly and can spread through the body quickly. Severe infections can spread deep into the body, andcanbe life threatening.
Most casesare successfully treated with antibiotics at home, although sometimesit needs to be treated in hospital.
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Cellulitis causes an area of skin to suddenly become:
It most often affects the lower legs, but can occur anywhere.
In more severe cases, cellulitis can also be accompanied and often preceded by:
These are signs that the infection has spread deeper into the body. Many infections can be treated with antibiotic tablets at home.
You'll usually be given a seven-day course of tablets, and your symptomsshould start to improve after a few days.
Make sure you complete the whole course of medicine you've been given, even if you're feeling better. Contact your GP if your symptoms get worse after a few days or don't improve within a week.
For serious infections, treatment is usually started in hospital. You'll normally be given antibiotics directly into a vein through an injection or a drip.
Many hospitals can then arrange for this treatment to continue at home or in an outpatient clinic. Treatment is usually for seven days.
If the infection responds to treatment quickly, it may be possible to complete the course with antibiotic tablets instead of having injections or a drip.
For example amoxicillin, streptomycin and erythromycin.
Cellulitis is a potentially serious infection of the deeper layers of skin. Find out about the symptoms, causes, treatments and possible complications.
Find out about the main symptoms of cellulitis and when to get medical advice.
Cellulitis is usually caused by an infection of the tissues beneath the skin after the surface of the skin is damaged.