ABC Medical Center > Cellulitis

What is Cellulitis?

21:53 - 4 May , 2021


It appears when there is a bacterial infection in the skin that can get complicated and become serious and high risk. In it, the affected area becomes inflamed, turning reddish and hot, causing moderate or intense pain depending on the progress of the infection.

Cellulitis usually occurs on the legs, especially the ankles, shins, and calves, but sometimes it also affects the arms and face.

Its infection mechanism is through the entry of bacteria (mainly streptococci and staphylococci) through eroded or broken skin. If timely treatment is not received, the infection can invade the lymph system and the blood, which constitutes a life-threatening emergency. 

Signs and symptoms Cellulitis

  • Pain and swelling.
  • Hypersensitivity.
  • Reddish rash that grows progressively.
  • Excessive heat.
  • High fever.
  • Blisters.

If you have these symptoms, it is important that you see your doctor, because if it is not detected and treated on time, cellulitis spreads rapidly through various areas of the body until it affects it in its entirety. 

Potential risks:

  • Depressed immune system: either due to pre-existing conditions or medications. 
  • Skin conditions: if you suffer from herpes, dermatitis, or athlete’s foot those lesions are an access route for bacteria. 
  • Lymphedema.
  • Overweight and obesity.
  • Damaged or injured skin. 
  • Previous cellulitis. 

When you have suffered frequent cellulitis processes, the lymphatic system is affected, causing lymphedema. And sometimes, the uncontrolled infection reaches deep into the muscle fascia, causing necrotizing fasciitis, which is extremely serious.

Diagnosis and treatment Cellulitis

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, he or she will perform a physical examination with which it will not be difficult to establish the diagnosis, although to make sure and rule out other conditions, he or she may request blood tests or take a skin or fluid sample to determine the type of bacteria present.  

The treatment plan indicated for cellulitis is the prescription of oral or intramuscular antibiotics depending on the degree of progress, although they are usually long treatments (up to 15 days) that must be monitored to see if the infection subsides or antibiotics must be combined for greater effectiveness. 

If symptoms don’t improve and the infection doesn’t subside, you’ll need to be hospitalized for intravenous antibiotics and optimal care that doesn’t allow new complications to develop. 

How to prevent new outbreaks:

Sometimes the doctor recommends the intake of antibiotics to prevent its return. However, there are a series of simple daily actions that help prevent it when you have a skin lesion:

  • Watch for signs of infection (pain, inflammation, redness). 
  • Clean the wound with soap and water daily. 
  • Dress the injury and change the bandage daily. 
  • Put a gel or cream that protects the skin. 

Patients with vascular diseases and diabetes must be very careful not to cause skin lesions, because they are at high risk for developing this condition. 

In ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


  • cdc.gov
  • msdmanuals.com
  • mayoclinic.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • healthline.com
  • medigraphic.com
  • Cuadrado MJ, Riverón CL, Ruiz SR, et al. Características de la celulitis facial odontógena. Isla de la Juventud. 2012–2014. 16 de abril. 2015;54(259):27-37.
  • Waizel HS, Jerves UM, Blanco MA, et al. Sinusitis de origen dental complicada con celulitis orbitaria. An Med Asoc Med Hosp ABC. 2009;54(1):40-46.
  • Valle AJ, Fonseca PFJ, Noblia L. Utilidad de la ecografía en la toma de decisiones sobre la celulitis o absceso de partes blandas. Rev Cub Med Int Emerg. 2020;19(1):1-6.
  • Cortés BF, Quesada CJ. Celulitis preseptal y orbitaria. Revista Médica Sinergia. 2018;3(11):3-6.

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