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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Cellulitis is a skin infection caused by bacteria.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your wound gets larger and more painful.
- You have a fever.
- You have a thin, gray-brown discharge coming from your infected skin area.
- You feel a crackling under your skin when you touch it.
- You have purple dots or bumps on your skin, or you see bleeding under your skin.
- You have new swelling and pain in your legs.
- You have sudden trouble breathing or chest pain.
- The red, warm, swollen area gets larger.
- You see red streaks coming from the infected area.
- You feel weak and dizzy.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your fever or pain does not go away or gets worse.
- Your wound does not get smaller after 2 days of antibiotics.
- Your skin is flaking or peeling off.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Medicines help treat the bacterial infection or decrease pain.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Elevate your wound above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your wound on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
- Clean your wound as directed. You may need to wash the wound with soap and water. Look for signs of infection.
- Do not share personal items, such as towels, clothing, and razors.
- Clean exercise equipment with germ-killing cleaner before and after you use it.
- Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a child's diapers, or sneeze. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food. Use lotion to prevent dry, cracked skin.
- Wear pressure stockings as directed. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. This improves blood flow and decreases swelling.
- Treat athlete's foot. This can help prevent a bacterial skin infection.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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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.