What are Different Types of Treatment for Cellulitis?

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  • Written By: Steve R.
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Images By: Jason Ormand, Brian Jackson, Margo555
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2019
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An irritation of the skin, cellulitis is most often caused when staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria enters a person’s body through a sore or cut. If left untreated, the condition, which causes swelling, fever, and chills, may lead to amputation and possibly death. Treatment for cellulitis varies, depending on the severity and location, as well as patient’s health. Most often, treatment for cellulitis includes antibiotics and other medicines, which often clears up the condition in less than two weeks. Treatment aims to alleviate pain, accelerate the healing process, and discourage the condition from recurring.

Penicillin or a derivative of penicillin, is a common antibiotic for treatment for cellulits. In cases when a patient is allergic to penicillin, other antibiotics such as vancomycin may be used. In its early stages when cellulitis is confined to just a small area and has not yet penetrated the blood system, oral antibiotics can successfully treat the condition. Since cellulitis can spread quickly in the body, a person should get on antibiotics as quickly as possible to prevent further infection. A person should finish out a prescription even if the condition has cleared up.


When the infection has spread through the body or an individual is not responding to oral antibiotics, an individual may need to go to the hospital for treatment for cellulitis. At the hospital, antibiotics may be delivered through an IV. In some instances, it may be possible for a person to take antibiotics intravenously at home. Infections that occur in the arms or legs require a person to keep the affected limbs elevated, along with applying damp sterile bandages to assist with soreness.

In some instances, treatment for cellulitis may require a stay in the hospital. Admission to a hospital may be needed if a person becomes extremely ill due to a high-grade fever or high blood pressure. In cases where an individual continually vomits or the infection is not improving, hospital care may also be needed. Those with weakened immune systems who become stricken with cellulitis may require hospital treatment as well. Surgery may be required to drain infected tissue if antibiotics do not work.

Along with medication, some alternative therapies may be helpful for treatment for cellulitis. Flavonoids, complexes found in certain fruits and vegetables such as grapes, blueberries, and onions, seem to diminish the risk for cellulitis. Red wine and tea also contain flavonoids. Quercetin, a flavonoid supplement, is also available. Certain herbs when taken orally or applied to the skin such as thyme or tea tree oil may also be effective against cellulits.


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