It is a common bacterial skin infection affecting deepest layers of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, and causes redness, swelling, and pain in the affected area, and if not treated, can spread and cause serious health problems.
This infection can appear anywhere on the skin, and adults often get it on the lower legs and feet, while in children it appears on the face or neck.

Cellulitis usually occurs due to different types of bacteria, which enter the body through openings in the skin (such as: an injury or wound), in general, it cannot be transmitted from another person; It affects the deep layers of the skin.

Risk factors:

  • Injuries that cause scratches to the skin (e.g.: cuts, bites, puncture wounds, tattoos and piercings).
  • Chronic skin diseases (e.g.: athlete's foot, eczema)
  • Infection with chickenpox and herpes
  • Overweight
  • Swelling of the limbs, feet, legs, hands and arms, including swelling caused by problems with the lymph system (part of the body's immune system that helps move fluid containing infection-fighting cells throughout the body).
  • Poor immune system due to chemotherapy or diabetes, among others.


  • A red, warm, swollen area, and tender to touch.
  • Appearance of pits in the skin resembling an orange peel.
  • Blisters appear on the affected skin.
  • High body temperature and chills.

Cellulitis can appear anywhere on the body, but it is most common on feet and legs.

When to see a doctor:

  • When noticing a rapid increase in skin redness in size and accompanied by a high temperature and a feeling of shiver
  • Presence of redness, swelling and pain in the skin.
  • Not feeling better two to three days after starting antibiotics.
  • Report to the emergency room if you have cellulitis accompanied by one of the following symptoms:
  • High fever, or feeling shivering.
  • Rapid heartbeat or rapid breathing.
  • Purple spots appear on the skin, but they may be less visible on brown or black skin.
  • Feeling dizzy or fainting.
  • Confusion or impaired awareness.
  • Pale or cold skin.
  • Unresponsiveness or loss of consciousness.

If not treated early, the infection can spread to other parts of the body (e.g. blood, muscles, and bones).

Mild cellulitis affecting a small area of skin is treated with the prescribed antibiotics. It is important to continue taking the antibiotics and not to stop taking the treatment until after the doctor's advice. More serious infections may need to be treated in hospital with intravenous antibiotics given directly into a vein.

Chances of developing cellulitis can be reduced with good wound care by:

  • Clean all minor skin lacerations with soap and water.
  • Keep the skin clean and well moisturized.
  • Clean all minor cuts and injuries (such as blisters and scrapes) with soap and water.
  • Clean and cover wounds with clean, dry bandages until they heal.
  • See a doctor for punctures and other deep or serious wounds.
  • If there is an open wound or an active infection, avoid spending time in hot tubs, swimming pools, or natural bodies of water (such as lakes, rivers, and oceans).
  • Wash hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if washing is not possible.
  • People who have recurring cellulitis infections below the knee should be screened for fungal infections and treated promptly.
  • People with diabetes should check their feet daily for injuries or signs of infection.
  • Prevent cuts and scrapes by wearing appropriate clothing and shoes
  • Wear gloves when working outside

Instructions for people with cellulitis:

  • Elevate the affected body part on a pillow or chair while sitting or lying down to reduce swelling
  • Move the joint regularly near the affected part of the body (e.g.: wrist or ankle) to prevent stiffness
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Refrain from touching or rubbing the affected areas.
  • Do not wear compression stockings until you feel better.

Last Update : 21 August 2023 03:18 PM
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