Cellulitis

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Can cellulitis be prevented?

Under some circumstances, cellulitis can be prevented by proper hygiene, treating chronic swelling of tissues (edema), care of wounds or cuts. In other cases, microscopic breaks in the skin may not be apparent and infection may develop. In general, cellulitis in a healthy person with an intact immune system is preventable by avoiding skin surface wounds. In people with predisposing conditions (see above) and/or weakened immune systems, cellulitis may not always be preventable.

What is the outlook/prognosis for cellulitis? What are complications of cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a treatable condition, but antibiotic treatment is necessary to eradicate the infection and avoid complications and spread of the infection. Most cellulitis can be effectively treated with oral antibiotics at home. Sometimes hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics are required if oral antibiotics are not effective. Sepsis is a serious complication of cellulitis. If not properly treated, cellulitis can occasionally spread to the bloodstream and cause a serious bacterial infection of the bloodstream that spreads throughout the body (sepsis). Continue Reading

Reviewed on 4/26/2016
References
REFERENCE:

Herchline, Thomas E. "Cellulitis." Medscape.com. Aug. 19, 2015. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/214222-overview>.

IMAGES:

1. Bigstock

2. MedicineNet

3. MedicineNet

4. iStock

5. Rafael Lopez

6. iStock, Medscape

7. CDC - Janice Carr

8. BigStock

9. iStock

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