Cellulitis treatment usually is a prescription oral antibiotic. Within three days of starting an antibiotic, let your doctor know whether the infection is responding to treatment. You'll need to take the antibiotic for up to 14 days. In most cases, signs and symptoms of cellulitis disappear after a few days. If they don't clear up, if they're extensive or if you have a high fever, you may need to be hospitalized and receive antibiotics through your veins (intravenously).
Usually, doctors prescribe a drug that's effective against both streptococci and staphylococci. Your doctor will choose an antibiotic based on your circumstances.
No matter what type of antibiotic your doctor prescribes, it's important that you take the medication as directed and that you finish the entire course of medication, even if you start feeling better.
Your doctor also might recommend elevating the affected area, which may speed recovery.
Feb. 23, 2012
- Cellulitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec10/ch119/ch119b.html. Accessed Nov. 10, 2011.
- Baddour LM. Cellulitis and erysipelas. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 10, 2011.
- Stevens DL. Infections of the skin, muscles, and soft tissues. In: Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Nov. 10, 2011.
- Gunderson CG. Cellulitis: Definition, etiology and clinical features. The American Journal of Medicine. In press. Accessed Nov. 10, 2011.
- Kilburn SA, et al. Interventions for cellulites and erysipelas (review). The Cochrane Collaboration. 2010;6.
- Bailey E, et al. Cellulitis: Diagnosis and management. Dermatologic Therapy. 2011;24:229.
- Eron LJ. In the clinic: Cellulitis and soft tissue infections. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2009;150:1.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 16, 2011.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.