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If the infection is severe, you may need to be treated in a hospital so that you can get IV antibiotics directly into your bloodstream, along with any other care you may need.

Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions about medicine and skin care. To help with your recovery and to feel better:

  • Take all of your medicine as prescribed. Don't stop taking it just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Elevate the affected area to reduce swelling. Warm compresses may also help.
  • Use pain relievers as needed.

Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse or if they haven't started to improve within 48 hours (2 days) after you start taking antibiotics.

How can you prevent cellulitis?

If you are at risk for cellulitis, you can take steps to help prevent it. If you've had cellulitis before, these steps may help prevent it from coming back.

  • Take good care of your skin. Keep it clean, and use lotion to prevent drying and cracking.
  • Check your feet and legs often. This is especially important if you have diabetes.
  • Treat any skin infection right away.
  • Ask your doctor if you need to take antibiotics or other medicine on a regular basis to prevent cellulitis.
  • If you have edema, ask your doctor about wearing compression stockings or sleeves.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

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