Cellulitis: Symptoms & Signs

  • 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.

Medically Reviewed on 4/10/2017

The symptoms of cellulitis result from inflammation of the skin and underlying tissues. The skin itself may appear reddened and warm to the touch, and there may be swelling, pain, and tenderness of the affected area. Red streaks on the skin can sometimes be seen when the infection is spreading. As the infection spreads, the affected person may develop fever and chills, with accompanying tiredness or malaise. Swollen lymph nodes can sometimes occur in areas near the infection.

Causes of cellulitis

Cellulitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Many types of bacteria can cause cellulitis, but Staphylococcus and Streptococcus are the types of bacteria that most commonly cause the condition. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is a particularly serious type of staph infection that is resistant to many common antibiotics and is sometimes a cause of cellulitis.

Related Symptoms & Signs


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/10/2017
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