The borders of the area of redness are generally not sharp and the skin may be swollen. While the redness often turns white when pressure is applied this is not always the case. The area of infection is usually painful. Lymphatic vessels may occasionally be involved, and the person may have a fever and feel tired. The legs and face are the most common site involved, though cellulitis can occur on any part of the body. The leg is typically affected following a break in the skin. Other risk factors include obesity, leg swelling, and old age.
Cellulitis is most often a clinical diagnosis, readily identified in many people by history and physical examination alone, with rapidly spreading areas of cutaneous edema, redness and heat, occasionally associated with inflammation of regional lymph nodes. While classically distinguished as a separate entity from erysipelas by spreading more deeply to involve the subcutaneous tissues, many clinicians may classify erysipelas as cellulitis. Both are often treated similarly, but cellulitis associated with furuncles, carbuncles, or abscesses is usually caused S. aureus
Antibiotics are usually prescribed, with the agent selected based on suspected organism and presence or absence of purulence, although the best treatment choice is unclear. If an abscess is also present surgical drainage is usually indicated, with antibiotics often prescribed for co-existent cellulitis, especially if extensive. Pain relief is also often prescribed, but excessive pain should always be investigated as it is a symptom of necrotizing fasciitis. Elevation of the affected area is often recommended.
It is estimated that by 2030, infection linked to cellulitis disease will rise to 17.9 million