What are the symptoms of cellulitis?

Symptoms of cellulitis can occur anywhere on your skin but are far more dangerous when they occur on your face, especially near your eyes. These symptoms can also be accompanied by flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, or aches and pains), including a high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit). Symptoms of cellulitis around the eyes always constitute an emergency.

Skin symptoms of cellulitis

Cellulitis symptoms erupt suddenly and grow rapidly. These symptoms are frequently severe:

  • Painful rash or sore that erupts suddenly and grows quickly in the first 24 hours
  • Redness, warmth or swelling
  • Sweating
  • Tight, glossy skin that appears stretched

Eye symptoms of cellulitis

Orbital or periorbital cellulitis symptoms arise and worsen quickly, are dangerous, and include:

  • Orbital cellulitis symptoms arise and worsen quickly, are dangerous, and include:
  • Eye pain, especially with eye movement
  • Eye swelling and redness
  • Loss of vision or changes in vision
  • Painful swelling around the eyes, eyelids, and sometimes the eyebrows and cheeks

    Other symptoms of cellulitis

    Cellulitis may be accompanied by a variety of symptoms that affect other body systems. Many of these symptoms resemble those of the flu. At times, any of these symptoms can be severe:

    • Fatigue
    • Fever and chills; shaking
    • Joint stiffness due to pressure from swollen tissues
    • Malaise or lethargy
    • Muscle pain
    • Nausea with or without vomiting
    • Swollen lymph nodes

    Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

    In some cases, cellulitis can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:

    • Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
    • Chills, shaking
    • Eye pain
    • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
    • Lightheadedness
    • Painful red, warm or inflamed skin
    • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
    • Rash or sore that appears suddenly and grows rapidly within 24 hours
    • Severe difficulty breathing


    What is cellulitis?

    Cellulitis is a bacterial infection that typically affects the skin and the tissues beneath the skin. Cellulitis can occur anywhere on the body. Periorbital cellulitis (infection of the eyelids or other soft tissue around the eyes) is a particularly serious form of cellulitis.

    Cellulitis is most frequently caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (including methicillin-resista... Read more about cellulitisintroduction


    What causes cellulitis?

    Cellulitis is most frequently caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and beta-hemolytic streptococci. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA, is a particularly dangerous type of bacterial infection that is resistant to many antibiotics. These bacteria can enter through a break in the skin due to an injury, an insect bite, or an area of cracke... Read more about cellulitiscauses


    How is cellulitis treated?

    The most common treatment for cellulitis is taking antibiotics by mouth (orally). You may also receive analgesics to control your pain. Cellulitis can be serious enough to require a hospital stay, especially if you have a high fever, unstable blood pressure, persistent nausea or vomiting, or a weakened immune system. You wil... Read more about cellulitistreatments

    Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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