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Cellulitis - Symptoms of cellulitis

Cellulitis causes the area of affected skin to become red, hot, swollen, and tender or painful.

Cellulitis most commonly affects one of your legs, although symptoms can develop in any area of your body.

If you have cellulitis, you may also find that blisters develop on your skin.

Cellulitis can make you feel generally unwell, causing symptoms that develop before, or in combination with, changes to your skin. These symptoms include:

  • nausea
  • shivering
  • chills
  • a general sense of feeling unwell

When to seek medical advice

See your GP as soon as possible if an area of your skin suddenly turns red, painful and hot.

If it's not possible to see your GP on the day your symptoms develop, visit your local minor injuries unit.

When to seek urgent medical advice

Additional symptoms can suggest the infection has begun to spread from your skin to other parts of your body, such as your blood.

If you have any of these symptoms, go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department as soon as possible, because you may need urgent medical attention.

These symptoms include:

  • rapid spreading of the area of redness
  • high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • vomiting
  • changes in mental state, such as confusion
  • rapid heartbeat
  • rapid breathing
  • dizziness, particularly when moving from a lying or sitting position to a standing one

A high temperature, also known as a fever, is when someone's body temperature goes above the normal 37°C (98.6°F).

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