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Cellulitis, Ambulatory Care

Cellulitis

is a skin infection caused by bacteria.


Common symptoms include the following:

  • Fever
  • A red, warm, swollen area on your skin
  • Pain when the area is touched
  • Bumps or blisters (abscess) that may drain pus
  • Bumpy, raised skin that feels like an orange peel

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • An increase in pain, redness, warmth, and size
  • Red streaks coming from the infected area
  • A thin, gray-brown discharge coming from your infected skin area
  • A crackling under your skin when you touch it
  • Purple dots or bumps on your skin, or bleeding under your skin
  • New swelling and pain in your legs
  • Sudden trouble breathing or chest pain

Treatment for cellulitis

may include medicines to treat the bacterial infection or decrease pain. The infection may need to be cleaned out. Damaged, dead, or infected tissue may need to be cut away to help your wound heal.

Manage your symptoms:

  • 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.
  • Wear pressure stockings as directed. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. This improves blood flow and decreases swelling.

Prevent cellulitis:

  • 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.
  • Do not share personal items, such as towels, clothing, and razors.
  • Clean exercise equipment with germ-killing cleaner before and after you use it.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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. 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.

© 2016 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.

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