Cellulitis treatment usually includes 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 as long as your doctor directs, usually five to 10 days but possibly as long as 14 days.
In most cases, signs and symptoms of cellulitis disappear after a few days. You may need to be hospitalized and receive antibiotics through your veins (intravenously) if:
- Signs and symptoms don't respond to oral antibiotics
- Signs and symptoms are extensive
- You have a high fever
Usually, doctors prescribe a drug that's effective against both streptococci and staphylococci. It's important that you take the medication as directed and finish the entire course of medication, even after you feel better.
Your doctor also might recommend elevating the affected area, which may speed recovery.
Feb. 11, 2015
- Cellulitis. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec10/ch119/ch119b.html. Accessed Dec. 7, 2014.
- Baddour LM. Cellulitis and erysipelas. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 7, 2014.
- Keller EC, et al. Distinguishing cellulitis from its mimics. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2012;79:547.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Cellulitis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2009.
- Skin care. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/skin-care.html. Accessed Dec. 8, 2014.