Cellulitis is an infection caused by staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria. Most individuals have these bacteria living on their skin. When there is a cut, scrape or break in the skin, bacteria can enter the wound and cause a cellulitis infection. While cellulitis is treatable with prescription medication, there are no over-the-counter medications available for treatment.
You may be able to prevent the bacteria from entering your body and causing cellulitis by using an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment. However, once the cellulitis infection has started, prescription medication is required.
Symptoms of cellulitis may include fever and chills; muscle aches; a sore that is red, warm and tender to the touch; and fatigue.
Diagnosis of cellulitis is generally done by taking a blood sample and running a complete blood count test to determine if the bacteria are present. Your physician may also take a sample of the infected area and have it tested to determine the exact strain of bacteria present.
Cellulitis is a serious bacteria infection. Without prompt treatment, the bacteria can enter the blood stream and deeper layers of the skin. Left untreated, cellulitis can be fatal.
Cellulitis is generally treated with prescription antibiotics. When antibiotic medication fails to cure the infection, hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics may be required.