What is cellulitis?

A Answers (6)

  • Cellulitis is an acute, spreading infection of the deep tissues of the skin and muscle that causes the skin to become warm and tender and may also cause fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and blisters.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

  • Cellulitis is a skin infection that can be relatively mild or very serious. It is caused by bacteria that enter the body through an opening in the outer layer of skin, most often in the legs. Symptoms include redness, swelling, heat, and soreness of the affected area.

  • AHealthwise answered

    Cellulitis is a skin infection, usually caused by Streptococcusor Staphylococcus bacteria. Cellulitis usually develops after a break in the skin from a scrape, cut, bite, or puncture, or after a rash.

    A doctor should evaluate symptoms that can occur with cellulitis, which may include:

    • Painful, red, hot, swollen skin that may crack, split, or weep fluid.
    • Red streaks extending from the red area toward the body (lymphangitis).
    • Fever and chills.
    • Drainage of pus.
    • Swollen glands.
    • General feeling of illness (malaise).

    Facial cellulitis in children requires immediate medical attention to prevent potentially dangerous eye or brain infection. Cellulitis usually is treated with antibiotics, rest and elevation of the affected area, and warm compresses. Cellulitis may be more severe and require a hospital stay for people who have decreased blood flow (venous stasis), long-term swelling, diabetes, or an impaired immune system.

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit

    © Healthwise, Incorporated.

  • If the skin around an abrasion on your elbow is inflamed, red, and warm, you may have cellulitis. This is an infection which is caused by bacteria that have invaded the deeper layer of skin through the abrasion. Signs of cellulitis include swelling, redness, warmth, and increased pain in the area.

    (This answer provided for NATA by the Southern Utah University Athletic Training Education Program.)
  • Cellulitis is a skin infection caused by bacteria. You may feel increased warmth, redness, and pain over the area of infected skin. It tends to increase in size unless treated by antibiotics.
  • ADaniel Kapp, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, answered on behalf of MDLIVE

    Cellulitis is an infection in the skin.  It is a response to an injury of the outer layer of the skin or epidermis. 

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When should I call the doctor about my child’s cellulitis?