Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD Patient Handout


About Your Diagnosis

Cellulitis is an infection of tissue beneath the skin. It is not contagious. It is usually caused by staph or strep bacteria, which invade the skin through a break in the skin that may not be visible. Cellulitis can occur anywhere on the body, but usually occurs on the face or lower legs. It is curable in 7–10 days with treatment.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms include sudden redness, swelling, and tenderness in the skin. The area grows rapidly, sometimes with a red line developing that extends toward the heart. Fever is sometimes present along with chills and sweats.

Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection. You should rest in bed until the fever and symptoms subside. If cellulitis is present in the lower leg, elevation and warm soaks can relieve pain and swelling. No special diet is needed. Extra vitamin C can help healing.

The DOs
• Take antibiotics until finished.
• Apply warm soaks to the area to reduce pain and inflammation.
• Elevate the affected area to reduce swelling.
• Rest and take Tylenol for fever.
• Increase fluid intake if fever occurs.
• Take vitamin C supplements to aid healing.

The DON’Ts
• Don’t skip doses or stop the antibiotics until finished.
• Don’t resume your normal activities until swelling and pain subside.
• Don’t swim if you have a skin wound.

When to Call Your Doctor
During the treatment you experience:
• High fever.
• Vomiting.
• Headache.
• Blisters over the affected area.
• Red streaks that don’t go away.