Possible signs and symptoms of cellulitis are:

  • Redness 
  • Warmth
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Blisters that may drain pus
  • Bumpy, raised skin
  • Tenderness
  • Fever and chills

Note that this list may not be complete.


How do you get cellulitis?

Cellulitis occurs when bacteria enter the body through disrupted areas of the skin. These areas include:

  • burns,
  • cuts or ulcers,
  • animal bites, or
  • puncture wounds.

You are more likely to get cellulitis if you have dry, flaky skin or you have skin conditions like eczema, shingles, or athlete’s foot. You are also at a higher risk if you are immune deficient, you have blood circulation issues, or you suffer from lymphedema (swelling, typically in an arm or leg). Taking drugs intravenously, practicing contact sports, and sharing towels and exercising equipment may also contribute to greater risk of this condition.

When should you go to the hospital with cellulitis?

If you have:

  • a high fever (for adults, typically at least 103 F/39.4 C),
  • your symptoms are extensive, and
  • symptoms don’t ease after two to three days of starting oral antibiotics,

you may need to be hospitalized and receive antibiotics intravenously.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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