Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment drugs questions for doctor specialist Home Care pain in adults pain in children skin wounds warning signs Complications Underlying Cause types Anatomy

Cellulitis Home Care

Home care for cellulitis includes:

Cellulitis Pain in Adults

Medications commonly used to control pain and inflammation in adults with cellulitis include:


Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.

Aspirin

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Ketoprofen

NSAID Precautions

Cellulitis Pain in Children

Common medications used at home for pain and fever in children with cellulitis include:


Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.

Ibuprofen
Always follow the package instructions.

Naproxen

Cellulitis Skin Wounds

Care for infected skin wounds in someone with cellulitis includes:

  • The wound should be cleaned 2-3 times a day with a mild soap such as dilute baby shampoo.
  • A wet, cloth and dilute hydrogen peroxide is useful to help remove dead tissue.
  • Dry the wound gently, and completely, with a clean towel or gauze.
  • Apply an antibiotic and a dressing as needed.
  • Rest and elevate the affected area. A sling or splint may be helpful.
  • Take any prescribed medications as directed.
  • Try acetaminophen or ibuprofen for mild pain or fever.

Tetanus Considerations
Tetanus shots (boosters) can be given up to three days after a wound, as long as you have had all your tetanus shots in the past. A tetanus booster seldom needs to be given right at the time of the wound.

A tetanus shot is necessary right away if you have not had three tetanus shots at any time in your life.

You need a tetanus shot within three days for any infected wound if you have not had one within the past 5 years.

Rabies Considerations
Rabies is possible in many animals, including dogs and cats. Rodents and lagomorphs (rabbits) rarely carry rabies in most areas of the U.S.

Rabies may be present in certain animals:
  • Bats
  • Cats
  • Cattle
  • Dogs
  • Foxes
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks

Dogs or cats without adequate vaccinations may carry rabies. This is not usually the case for domestic dogs. Rabies may be safely excluded by professional observation of a dog or cat for a week to 10 days. This is usually performed by Animal Control personnel.

If there is any concern about rabies exposure, protective vaccines (5 injections over 28 days) are necessary. Rabies vaccination can be delayed for 72 hours after a bite to capture and identify a dog or cat.

Cellulitis Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have cellulitis and any of the following:

Continue to Cellulitis Complications

Last Updated: Dec 13, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Cellulitis References
  1. Edmonds M, Foster A. The use of antibiotics in the diabetic foot. Am J Surg. 2004 May;187(5A):25S-28S. [15147988]
  2. Leman P, Mukherjee D. Flucloxacillin alone or combined with benzylpenicillin to treat lower limb cellulitis: a randomised controlled trial. Emerg Med J. 2005 May;22(5):342-6. [15843702]
  3. Morris A. Cellulitis and erysipelas. Clin Evid. 2004 Dec;(12):2271-7. [15865787]
  4. Swartz MN. Clinical practice. Cellulitis. N Engl J Med. 2004 Feb 26;350(9):904-12. [14985488]
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