Treatment for cellulitis depends on the location of the infection and the severity. Mild cellulitis may be treated at home with oral antibiotics. Cellulitis that is caused by methicillin-resistant staphylococcus bacteria (MRSA infection) will require aggressive antibiotic therapy and close follow-up. Severe cellulitis requires admission to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics. Additional treatment includes warm compresses, elevation of the area, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and fever. With treatment, most cases of cellulitis resolve within 10 days.
Treatment measures for cellulitis include:
- Elevation of the infected area
- Above the heart if possible
- Warm compresses
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and fever:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, NeoProfen)
- Ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis, Oruvail)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, Aleve)
- Narcotic pain medication:
- For moderate to severe pain
- For short term use only
- Antibiotics for cellulitis:
- Cefepime (Maxipime)
- Dicloxacillin (Dycill, Dynapen)
- Cephalexin (Keflex, Biocef)
- Amoxicillin and clavulanate (Augmentin, Augmentin XR)
- Clindamycin (Cleocin)
- Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim, Bactrim DS, Cotrim, Septra, Septra DS)
- Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
- Cefazolin (Ancef, Kefzol, Zolicef)
- Nafcillin (Unipen)
- Ceftazidime (Ceptaz, Fortaz, Tazicef, Tazidime)
- Ampicillin and sulbactam (Unasyn)
- Imipenem and cilastatin (Primaxin)
- Linezolid (Zyvox)
- Ertapenem (Invanz)
- Vancomycin (Lyphocin, Vancocin, Vancoled)
Antibiotics Used to Treat Cellulitis
Cellulitis Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of cellulitis.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
- Do I need to change my diet?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat cellulitis:
Continue to Cellulitis Home Care
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- 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. 
- Morris A. Cellulitis and erysipelas. Clin Evid. 2004 Dec;(12):2271-7. 
- Swartz MN. Clinical practice. Cellulitis. N Engl J Med. 2004 Feb 26;350(9):904-12.