Cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection that requires antibiotics.

The infection makes the skin become very hot to touch, more swollen, red and painful.

Patients who develop this infection can often feel unwell in themselves have a high temperature, feeling shivery, achy, experiencing headaches and nausea.

Cellulitis can occur in any area of the body.

You must contact your GP surgery or 111 if any of the symptoms above occur. Early treatment can prevent further spread of the infection and this becoming more serious.

Cellulitis can sometimes require hospital treatment with intravenous antibiotics.

If you are already wearing compression garments, you must stop wearing them if the infection is on the affected side. Compression can be worn again once 24 hours of antibiotics have been taken and if the area is comfortable for you to reapply. If not, apply once the pain has eased.

Regular skincare and maintaining lymphoedema will help reduce the risks of developing cellulitis.

Things that may help if you are being treated for cellulitis: -

  • Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with the pain
  • Drink plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration  
  • Regular exercise, if possible to aid swelling
  • Leg elevation when sat


The skin can often be extremely dry once the infection has resolved and the area can remain pink for some time. Speak to your lymphoedema team if you have had an infection, they can advise on skincare and reassess your garments if needed.