Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2021 Mar;35(1):49-60. doi: 10.1016/j.idc.2020.10.002.


Cellulitis is a common infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue caused predominantly by gram-positive organisms. Risk factors include prior episodes of cellulitis, cutaneous lesions, tinea pedis, and chronic edema. Cellulitis is a clinical diagnosis and presents with localized skin erythema, edema, warmth, and tenderness. Uncomplicated cellulitis can be managed in the outpatient setting with oral antibiotics. Imaging often is not required but can be helpful. Recurrent cellulitis is common and predisposing conditions should be assessed for and treated at the time of initial diagnosis. For patients with frequent recurrences despite management of underlying conditions, antimicrobial prophylaxis can be effective.

Keywords: Cellulitis; Erysipelas; Skin and soft tissue infection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis / methods
  • Cellulitis / diagnosis*
  • Cellulitis / drug therapy*
  • Cellulitis / epidemiology
  • Cellulitis / microbiology
  • Drainage / methods
  • Edema / epidemiology
  • Erysipelas / diagnosis
  • Erythema / epidemiology
  • Fasciitis, Necrotizing / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sepsis / diagnosis
  • Streptococcal Infections / diagnosis
  • Streptococcus
  • Tinea Pedis / epidemiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents