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Diagnosing and Treating Leg Cellulitis

Diagnosing Leg Cellulitis

Your healthcare provider typically makes a leg cellulitis diagnosis by asking questions about your medical history, performing a physical exam, and ordering blood tests. The most reliable way of diagnosing leg cellulitis is by looking at the affected area. An area affected by cellulitis will be:
  • Red
  • Warm to the touch
  • Swollen
  • Painful.
Your healthcare provider will also look for breaks in your skin (such as cuts, bruises, scrapes, skin conditions, or ulcers) where bacteria could have entered. He or she will likely also order a blood test to see if there is any indication of an infection.

Treating Leg Cellulitis

Treatment for leg cellulitis is aimed at healing the affected area and any underlying conditions that may increase the likelihood of a recurrence. Specific treatment options include medications and recurrence prevention.
Antibiotics are usually the first line of treatment, so tell your doctor if you are allergic to penicillin. During treatment for leg cellulitis, you should keep the affected leg elevated and use cold compresses to help reduce pain. However, 50 percent of people who receive treatment experience a recurrence of leg cellulitis. If this happens, your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics for a longer period of time.

Cellulitis Types

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