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What is cellulitis of the leg?

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Quick Answer

Cellulitis is a skin infection that not only involves the upper layers of skin, but also includes the dermis and subcutaneous layers. This type of infection is rather common, but if left untreated can turn into something more serious, even potentially becoming a life-threatening condition, according to WebMD.

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What is cellulitis of the leg?
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Full Answer

The infection is normally treated through oral antibiotics, states Mayo Clinic. These are normally given in a course that lasts between 5 and 10 days, although they can last as long as 14 days depending on the drug given. If the cellulitis doesn't respond to the drugs within the first couple days, the patient should let his doctor know so that he can take different steps to try to treat the condition and keep it from spreading. If it is allowed to move to other parts of the body, the patient could develop sepsis or septic shock.

The bacteria that causes cellulitis is the same ones that cause impetigo. The bacteria are streptococcus and staphylococcus, more commonly called just "staph." Patients who suffer from diabetes, edema or have a weakened immune system due to other causes, are very susceptible to this infection and can be harder to treat. For high-risk patients, or patients who do not see results in a few days from the oral antibiotics may need to be put in the hospital and given antibiotics through an IV.

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