How long does it take to get rid of cellulitis?

Updated April 17, 2017

Cellulitis is a skin bacterial infection that commonly affects the skin's surface on lower legs. When treated with antibiotics, cellulitis symptoms decrease within a few days. If left untreated, cellulitis can be fatal.


A cellulitis infection is typically detected by swollen, warm, red or tender skin accompanied by a fever. In certain cases, blisters or small red spots may form on the skin's surface.


Bacteria that enters the skin is the primary cause of a cellulitis infection. Two types of bacteria, streptococcus and staphylococcus, penetrate the skin's surface through puncture wounds, cuts or within areas of dry, flaky and swollen skin.

Risk Factors

Cellulitis prevention should begin as you age. The risk factors for cellulitis include less effective circulatory and immune systems as well as people with diabetes, chickenpox and shingles.


Cellulitis is most commonly treated with antibiotics for 10 to 14 days to ward off both types of bacteria. Once cellulitis treatment has begun, you should see a decrease in symptoms within a few days.


Ways to prevent cellulitis include nurturing open skin wounds daily. The Mayo Clinic suggests washing open wounds daily with soap and water, covering cuts with bandages and applying an antibiotic cream a few times a day. If the infection worsens, you should seek medical attention.


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About the Author

Shannon Philpott has been a writer since 1999. She has experience as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and online copywriter. Philpott has published articles in St. Louis metro newspapers, "Woman's World" magazine, "CollegeBound Teen" magazine and on e-commerce websites, and also teaches college journalism and English. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University.