Cellulitis – Care Plan

By Annie Sarid, MD
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
September 24, 2021

What is Cellulitis? 

Cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection, which often develops when bacteria enter through small breaks in the skin (like cuts, sores, scrapes, insect bites)

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Redness, pain, warmth and/or swelling of the affected area
  • Fever or chills

Cellulitis can be treated as follows…

  • Antibiotics – antibiotic treatment is important. Antibiotic pills are often enough, but for more severe infections,  an injection of antibiotics may be needed. 
  • Ice  – can help reduce inflammation 

Next steps…

  • It is important to take the entire course of antibiotics, even if your symptoms resolve. 
  • If your limb is affected, raise it above your heart for 30 minutes 3-4 times per day for the next 3 days. 
  • Keep the infected area clean and dry: wash daily with warm soapy water and pat dry with a clean towel. 

See a doctor in person if…

  • You have a fever or chills
  • You vomit
  • The redness spreads 
  • The redness includes a joint, and you are unable to bend the joint
  • There is pus discharge from the infected area

Check in with K if…

  • You’re not feeling better within 72 hours of the first dose of antibiotics. If that happens, please come back so we can re-evaluate your treatment plan (“antibiotics resistance” is when the bacteria causing the infection does not respond to a particular type of antibiotic. It is important for us to know if you are not better so we can re-evaluate your treatment plan or change your medication)! 

Prevention tips…

  • Make sure to clean any cuts with soap and water
  • Weight loss for overweight individuals can help prevent future episodes 
  • Good control of blood sugar in diabetic people can help prevent future episodes 

K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Annie Sarid, MD

Annie Sarid is the Urgent Care Medical Lead at K Health. Dr. Sarid is a board-certified emergency medicine physician with over 10 years of experience in the emergency room. She received her undergraduate education at Cornell University and went on to receive her medical degree from Sackler School of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University. Dr. Sarid then returned to her Brooklyn roots to complete her residency at Maimonides Medical Center.