A bacterial infection of loose connective tissue (particularly subcutaneous tissue). Untreated, the disease may lead to bacteremia, blood infection, or gangrene; facial infections may spread to the eye socket.
Cellulitis is usually caused by B-hemolytic streptococci bacteria. Very rarely, cellulitis develops after childbirth and may spread to the pelvic organs. Before the development of antibiotics, cellulitis was occasionally fatal. Today any form of cellulitis is likely to be more serious in those with compromised immune systems.
The affected area (usually the face, neck, or legs) is usually hot, tender, and red; other symptoms include fever and chills.
Antibiotics (penicillin, erythromycin, or clindamycin) must be taken for up to two weeks to clear the infection.