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Cellulitis

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Cellulitis is a skin infection caused by bacteria.


CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

Your skin may swell and separate from the tissue and bone beneath it. You may have severe swelling in your arms or legs. Your lymph system may become damaged and increase your risk for more cellulitis infections. Your lymph system is part of your body's defense against illness and disease. You may form blood clots in nearby blood vessels. Your skin and nearby tissues may die and start to peel. Your infection may spread to your bone, blood, kidneys, and heart. This can be life-threatening.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Vital signs:

Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.

Medicines:

  • Antibiotics treat the bacterial infection.

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.

Tests:

  • Blood tests may show if your infection is getting better or worse.

  • An x-ray, ultrasound, CT, or MRI may show if the infection has spread. You may be given contrast liquid to help the infection show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.

Treatment:

  • Abscess drainage may be needed to help clean out the infection.

  • Debridement is a procedure used to cut away damaged, dead, or infected tissue to help the wounds heal.

  • Pressure stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. This improves blood flow and decreases swelling.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Cellulitis (Inpatient Care)

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