Cellulitis overview and Definition

It is the bacterial infection that is present beneath the skin surface. Staphylococcus and Streptococcus are the two types of bacteria that takes part in the cellulitis. Sometimes the cellulitis develops in the area that has open wounds or at ulceration site

Clinical signs & symptoms

Cellulitis symptoms include:

  • pain and tenderness in the affected area
  • redness or inflammation of your skin
  • a skin sore or rash that grows quickly
  • tight, glossy, swollen skin
  • a feeling of warmth in the affected area
  • an abscess with pus
  • fever

More serious cellulitis symptoms include:

  • shaking
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • lighteadedness
  • feeling ill
  • warm skin
  • sweating
  • muscle aches

Symptoms like these could mean that cellulitis is spreading:



Red streaks

Differential Diagnosis

The following are the test that is used to detect the presence of cellulitis. They include    Blood Culture

Complete blood count with deifferential levels of creatinine, bicarbonate, creatinr phosphokinase and C-reactive protein(CRP).

Imaging studies:


They may play a role in the detection of occult abscess and direction of care.

Ultrasonic-guided aspiration of pus can shorten hospital stay and fever duration in children with cellulitis.

If necrotizing fasciitis  is necrotizing fasciitis is a concern, CT imaging is typically used in stable patients; MRI can be performed, but MRI typically takes much longer than CT scanning.

Strong clinical suspicion of necrotizing fasciitis should prompt surgical consultation without delay for imaging

Aspiration, Dissection and Biopsy:

Needle, aspiration should be performed in selected patients or in unusual cases, such as in cases of cellulitis with bullae or in patients who have diabetes are immunocompromised are neutropenic are not.

Punch biopsy:

Aspiration or punch biopsy of the inflamed area may have a culture yield of 2-40% and is of limited clinical value in most cases .

Gram stain:

Gram stain culture and drainage of abscess provides a better relief.

Admission of the patient to the hospital is required when the following is taken into an account:

Elevated creatinine level

Elevated creatine phosphokinase level( it will be 2-3 times the upper limit of normal)

CRP level is greater than 13 mg/L(123.8mmo/L)

Low serum Bicarbonate level

Variations in the complete blood count.



The prognosis might take 7-14 days after starting the antibiotics


If your cellulitis recurs, your doctor may recommend preventive antibiotics. To help prevent cellulitis and other infections, take these precautions when you have a skin wound:

  • Wash your wound daily with soap and water. Do this gently as part of your normal bathing and always coming to home from outdoors.
  • Apply a protective cream or ointment. For most surface wounds, an over-the-counter ointment (Vaseline, Polysporin, others) provides adequate protection.
  • Cover your wound with a bandage. Change bandages at least daily.
  • Watch for signs of infection. Redness, pain and drainage all signal possible infection and the need for medical evaluation.

People with diabetes and those with poor circulation need to take extra precautions to prevent skin injury. Good skin care measures include the following:

  • Inspect your feet daily. Regularly check your feet for signs of injury so you can catch infections early.
  • Moisturize your skin regularly. Lubricating your skin helps prevent cracking and peeling. Do not apply moisturizer to open sores.
  • Trim your fingernails and toenails carefully. Take care not to injure the surrounding skin.
  • Protect your hands and feet. Wear appropriate footwear and gloves.
  • Promptly treat infections on the skin's surface (superficial), such as athlete's foot. Superficial skin infections can easily spread from person to person. Don't wait to start treatment.