When someone has cellulitis, they may notice that the classic signs, such as swelling and redness or discoloration, reduce as they start to heal. In addition, an area that a doctor has marked on the skin to monitor the spread of infection may decrease in size.
Cellulitis is a common bacterial skin infection affecting over
Doctors treat cellulitis with antibiotics, which they administer orally or intravenously, depending on the severity of the infection.
This article explores signs that cellulitis is healing, explaining what someone should look for. In addition, it discusses recovery timelines, tips for recovery, and when someone should speak with a doctor.
A person with cellulitis may notice that their
Additionally, experts explain that doctors
As cellulitis starts to heal, a person may notice that the inflammation stops spreading and that the area the doctor has marked out begins to reduce in size.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) notes that most people with cellulitis take oral antibiotics for 7–14 days and should see an improvement in their symptoms within 24–48 hours. However, if the infection is severe, individuals may need to stay in the hospital for a week or more to receive antibiotics intravenously.
The AAD highlights the following recovery tips for someone at home:
- Care for the wound by covering the skin and changing dressings as a healthcare professional advises.
- Take time to rest and allow the body to heal to prevent complications.
- Elevate the body part with cellulitis, if possible, to reduce swelling.
- Make sure healthcare professionals are aware of other skin conditions that may have caused the cellulitis, such as athlete’s foot, and follow any treatment instructions for those conditions.
If someone experiences inflammation and other symptoms of cellulitis on their skin, they need to consult a doctor who can establish the exact cause. Cellulitis can result from anything that causes a break in the skin or makes the body more susceptible to bacteria,
- insect or animal bites
- intravenous punctures such as injection sites
- tattoos and piercings
- pressure ulcers
- surgical incisions
- fissures between toes
- conditions that affect the skin, such as athlete’s foot and eczema
- other conditions such as HIV and diabetes
- certain medications such as corticosteroids
A person with cellulitis needs antibiotics to treat the condition. People with cellulitis typically receive oral antibiotics, but doctors may administer them intravenously if the infection is severe. A person should take the whole course of antibiotics as a healthcare professional advises.
The CDC also notes that sometimes people experience complications from cellulitis, although this is uncommon. Serious infections resulting from cellulitis include:
- bacteremia, a type of blood infection
- osteomyelitis, an infection and inflammation of the bone
- endocarditis, a rare condition that involves inflammation of the heart lining, heart muscles, and heart valves
- thrombophlebitis, the inflammation of a vein due to a blood clot
- septic arthritis, which involves a sudden, severe infection of a joint
The AAD notes that anyone with cellulitis has a higher risk of getting it again, so someone should look out for signs and contact their doctor if they notice them.
Experts estimate that cellulitis has an
People can speak with a doctor if they think their cellulitis may be worsening or if they experience a recurrence of the infection.
Cellulitis causes various skin symptoms, including swelling, redness or discoloration, and pain. Doctors may mark out an area of skin that has developed cellulitis to monitor a person’s recovery.
As cellulitis heals, the spread of infection in the skin ceases, and a person may notice the area of inflammation reducing in size. They may also experience less pain or tenderness and decreased redness in the area.
People with cellulitis usually require oral antibiotics and may start to notice an improvement in symptoms in 1–2 days. However, the condition can lead to more severe complications, such as sepsis, infection, and inflammation in other body areas, such as the heart or bones.
If a doctor suspects the infection has spread, they may require a person to stay in the hospital to assess them and administer intravenous antibiotics.
People can speak with a doctor for further information about cellulitis on an individual basis.