How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose Cellulitis?
Most likely, the doctor will make the diagnosis from a medical history and physical examination.
- The doctor may also draw blood for testing if he or she feels the infection is severe enough to be in the bloodstream or to check for an elevated white blood cell count.
- The doctor also may order an X-ray or other imaging study of the area if there is concern that a foreign object is in the skin or that bone underneath is infected.
- The doctor may try to draw fluid from the affected area with a needle and send the fluid to the laboratory for a culture.
Are There Home Remedies for Cellulitis?
- Cellulitis must be treated with antibiotics. Home remedies alone do not cure it but can help speed healing.
- Rest the area of the body involved.
- Elevate the area of the body involved. This will help decrease swelling and relieve discomfort.
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). This will decrease the pain as well as help keep the fever down.
What Are Cellulitis Treatments?
- If the infection is not too severe, you can be treated at home. The doctor will give you a prescription for oral antibiotics to take by mouth. Duration of treatment is usually about a week to 10 days. Do not stop treatment early; finish all of the medication you are prescribed unless the doctor tells you to stop.
- The doctor may use intravenous (IV) or intramuscular antibiotic injections in these situations:
- If the infection is severe
- If you have other medical problems
- If you have a weakened immune system
- If you are very young or very old
- If the cellulitis involves extensive areas or areas close to important structures (for example, infection around the eye socket)
- If the infection is not improving or worsens after taking oral antibiotics for two to three days
- You may need hospitalization if the infection is advanced, extensive, or in an important area, like the face. In most of these cases, IV (intravenous) antibiotics need to be given until the infection is under good control (two to three days) and then you can be switched to oral medications to be taken at home. In some cases, duration of treatment may need to be prolonged, especially if the infection is responding slowly.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/21/2017
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