Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Cellulitis symptoms

1-minute read

People with cellulitis have an area of skin that is:

  • red and inflamed
  • very painful
  • tender
  • swollen
  • warm to touch
  • expanding in area

People with cellulitis symptoms may also have:

  • fever
  • chills, shaking or sweating
  • nausea
  • feeling generally unwell
  • blisters or ulcers
  • red spots
  • skin dimpling
  • weeping of clear, yellow or pus like fluid
  • enlarged glands (lymph nodes)

If you think you or someone in your care has cellulitis, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Cellulitis can spread and can become serious if not treated with antibiotics.

It’s particularly important to get urgent medical help if:

  • the affected skin is on the face
  • there is an animal or human bite
  • the redness is spreading very quickly or is very painful
  • you have a fever
  • you have a chronic disease such as diabetes or weak immune system

Follow the links below to find trusted information on cellulitis.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Cellulitis

Cellulitis is an infection of the skin caused by bacteria, usually Staphylococcus aureus (also called Staph) and Group A beta haemolytic streptococcus. These bacteria live on the skin and may enter an area of broken skin like a cut or scratch and cause an infection in the tissue under the skin.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Dissecting cellulitis of the scalp - ACD

Dissecting cellulitis of the scalp is a rare condition in which pus-filled lumps develop on the scalp, resulting in scarring and permanent hair loss over the area affected.

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Cellulitis in children and teenagers | Raising Children Network

Cellulitis is a skin infection that can start from a tiny scratch. If your child has cellulitis symptoms, he should see a GP because he needs antibiotics.

Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website

Cellulitis - Better Health Channel

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin that occurs most commonly on the lower legs and in areas where the skin is damaged or inflamed.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Bacterial skin and soft tissue infections | Issue 5 | Volume 39 | Australian Prescriber

Knowing when antibiotics are needed, and when to consider hospital referral are important in appropriate management of skin infections.

Read more on Australian Prescriber website

Lymphoedema

Lymphoedema is the accumulation of excessive amounts of protein-rich fluid resulting in swelling of one or more regions of the body.

Read more on Australasian Lymphology Association website

Lymphoedema - myDr.com.au

Lymphoedema is a condition that causes swelling, usually of the legs or arms. Find out about the causes, symptoms and treatments.

Read more on myDr website

Frequently Asked Questions about Lymphoedema

Read more on Australasian Lymphology Association website

Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib) disease fact sheet - Fact sheets

Infection with Hib bacteria can lead to serious illness including meningitis and epiglottitis. With the introduction of Hib vaccine these conditions are now rare. Urgent treatment is necessary as Hib disease can be life threatening.

Read more on NSW Health website

Acne keloidalis nuchae (AKN) - ACD

Acne Keloidalis Nuchae (AKN) is a chronic, inflammatory condition that most commonly affects hair follicles on the back of the neck in patients with skin of colour (coloured skin).

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo