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Treatments for cellulitis pain typically include analgesics such as drugs containing acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. If the cellulitis is in the leg, pain relief may be possible by elevating it to above hip level. Massage and certain exercises might also help to relieve pain caused by cellulitis by increasing circulation to the affected areas. A person considering massage or exercise for coping with cellulitis pain may need to ask his or her doctor first.
Cellulitis is a skin infection that is usually caused by step or staph. People who have recent wounds from surgery or injuries may be more likely to develop cellulitis, because the bacteria normally enters through open skin wounds. It can also enter the body through insect bites. Additionally, people who have illnesses that result in decreased immune system function may be more at risk for developing the infection. Some prescription medications can also impact the effectiveness of the immune system, thereby making a person more susceptible to cellulitis.
A person with this infection may initially notice extreme cellulitis pain. Additional symptoms of cellulitis may include skin inflammation and swelling, fever, and fatigue. The swollen area of skin tends to increase drastically in size over the first 24 hours after the onset of infection. The infected area of skin is also typically very tender to the touch. People with cellulitis might also experience shaking or chills and possibly nausea.
Doctors typically diagnose cellulitis with an initial physical examination followed by more specific tests. During the physical examination, a doctor may examine the swollen area of skin and monitor it over the next day to see if it grows. If the swollen area becomes larger and has an irregular border, cellulitis is typically suspected. Further testing may include a blood test to check the white blood cell levels for signs of infection and a blood culture from the infected area.
Cellulitis is generally a curable infection. In most cases, it can be cleared up within one week of treatment. Doctors normally prescribe a course of antibiotics along with pain medication for cellulitis pain. Hospital stays are occasionally necessary with some cases of cellulitis, but most of the time this applies only to people with compromised immune systems who may have difficulty fighting the disease. After the course of antibiotics are complete, doctors usually want to see the patient for a follow-up visit to be sure the infection is completely gone.