Cellulitis is a common but potentially serious skin infection caused by bacteria. The bacteria infect the deep layers of skin and tissue beneath the skin. Symptoms of cellulitis include rapidly spreading areas of swelling, redness, and heat, also associated with red streaking from the swollen area.
If you think you have cellulitis, you should get immediate medical care. Caught early and treated, cellulitis usually clears completely with without causing any long-term problems. Without treatment, the infection can spread quickly. The bacteria may travel to lymph nodes and into the bloodstream. This can lead to a blood infection or permanently damage lymph vessels, which are part of your immune system. Other complications can also develop.
Cellulitis is treated with antibiotics, but may require surgical treatment or steroids as well.
More information on cellulitis can be found on the website of the American Academy of Dermatology.« Back to Glossary Index