Diagnosis of cellulitis and erysipelas can usually be made on history and examination only, although purulent focus culture and molecular diagnostic procedures should be performed if cellulitis is associated with a wound or pustular focus.
Prior episodes, preexisting lymphedema or venous insufficiency, and tinea pedis can all predispose to cellulitis.
Antibiotics targeted at the most common etiologies (streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus) usually result in resolution.
Cellulitis is an acute spreading infection of the skin with visually indistinct borders that principally involves the dermis and subcutaneous tissue. It is characterized by erythema, edema, warmth, and tenderness, and commonly occurs in an extremity.
Erysipelas is a distinct form of superficial cellulitis with notable lymphatic involvement and is raised, sharply demarcating it from uninvolved skin.
History and exam
Matthew C. Robinson, MD
Infectious Disease Physician
Austin Infectious Disease Consultants
MCR declares that he has no competing interests.
Robert W. Bradsher, MD
Ebert Professor of Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
RWB declares that he has no competing interests.
Jorg Ruhe, MD, MPH
Beth Israel Medical Center
JR declares that he has no competing interests.
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