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What is Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a skin infection that occurs when bacteria invade the deep layers of the skin and the underlying tissues. It typically causes redness, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area, and can spread rapidly if left untreated. Cellulitis can be caused by a variety of bacteria, including Streptococcus and Staphylococcus, and is usually treated with antibiotics.


What are the causes of Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is caused by bacterial infections that penetrate the skin and infect the underlying tissues. The bacteria that most commonly cause cellulitis include Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. Cellulitis can develop from a variety of sources, including cuts, scratches, insect bites, surgical wounds, and skin conditions such as athlete’s foot or eczema. People with weakened immune systems, such as those with diabetes or peripheral vascular disease, are more susceptible to cellulitis. Additionally, people who have a history of cellulitis are at higher risk for developing the infection again in the future.

What are the symptoms of Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection that causes symptoms such as:

  • Redness and swelling of the affected skin area
  • Warmth and tenderness to the touch
  • Pain or tenderness in the affected area
  • Firm, red, raised skin area
  • Blisters or pus-filled bumps
  • A fever or feeling generally unwell
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes near the infected area.

If you suspect you have cellulitis, it is important to seek medical attention promptly, as untreated or severe cases can lead to more serious complications.

What treatments are available for Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is typically treated with antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection. The type of antibiotics used will depend on the specific bacteria causing the infection, as well as the severity of the infection and the individual’s overall health. In severe cases of cellulitis, hospitalization may be necessary for intravenous (IV) antibiotics.

In addition to antibiotics, treatment for cellulitis may include measures to reduce pain and swelling, such as elevating the affected area and applying warm compresses. Pain relief medication may also be prescribed.

It’s important to follow the treatment plan prescribed by a doctor, complete the full course of antibiotics, and attend all follow-up appointments to ensure the infection is fully treated and to reduce the risk of future infections.

In some cases, cellulitis can recur or lead to more serious complications, so prompt and appropriate treatment is important.


How to help prevent Cellulitis?

Remember, cellulitis can spread quickly, so it’s important to take preventive measures and seek prompt treatment if you suspect an infection.

Follow these tips as well:

  • Keep cuts and wounds clean: Clean and cover any cuts, scrapes, or wounds to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands regularly and avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.
  • Avoid exposure to contaminated water: Be careful when swimming in lakes, rivers, or hot springs, as these bodies of water can contain bacteria that can cause skin infections.
  • Treat skin conditions promptly: If you have a skin condition such as athlete’s foot or eczema, treat it promptly to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Manage underlying medical conditions: If you have a condition such as diabetes or peripheral vascular disease that weakens your immune system, work with your doctor to manage it effectively.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure: Protect your skin from excessive sun exposure and use sunscreen to reduce the risk of skin damage that can increase the risk of cellulitis.
  • Seek prompt treatment for infections: If you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or tenderness, seek prompt medical treatment to reduce the risk of cellulitis.

FAQ About Cellulitis

Who is at risk for Cellulitis?

Anyone can develop cellulitis, but certain factors such as weakened immune system, older age, obesity, poor circulation, and frequent exposure to contaminated water can increase the risk.

How is Cellulitis diagnosed?

Cellulitis is usually diagnosed based on a physical examination and medical history, but a skin culture may also be taken to confirm the type of bacteria causing the infection.

Is cellulitis contagious?

No, cellulitis is not contagious. However, the bacteria that cause cellulitis can be spread from person to person through direct contact with contaminated objects or surfaces.

How long does it take for Cellulitis to heal?

The length of time it takes for cellulitis to heal varies, but with proper treatment, most cases improve within a week to 10 days.

Can Cellulitis recur?

Yes, cellulitis can recur if the underlying cause is not addressed or if the skin becomes reinfected.

Is Cellulitis a serious condition?

Cellulitis can become serious if left untreated, as it can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious complications. Prompt treatment is essential to avoid such problems.

Is there a dermatologist near me in Milwaukee that offers treatment for Cellulitis

Yes. At our Milwaukee dermatology office we offers treatment for Cellulitis to patients from Milwaukee and the surrounding area. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.