How is cellulitis treated?

Updated: Jun 14, 2019
  • Author: Thomas E Herchline, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Antibiotic regimens are effective in more than 90% of patients. However, all but the smallest of abscesses require drainage for resolution, regardless of the microbiology of the infection. In many instances, if the abscess is relatively isolated, with little surrounding tissue involvement, drainage may suffice without the need for antibiotics.

Note that management of cellulitis may be complicated because of the emergence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and macrolide- or erythromycin-resistant Streptococcus pyogenes. [2] Nonsevere cases of cellulitis may be treated empirically with semisynthetic penicillins, first- or second-generation oral cephalosporins, macrolides, or clindamycin.


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