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"Is this a severe case of cellulitis ?"

ZocdocAnswersIs this a severe case of cellulitis ?


My six year old brother is in the hospital because of a severe case of cellulitis. His hand was swolen and he had red lines going up his arms, but the doctor said it isn't in his blood stream, and they are at the hospital and keeping him over night with an IV. How long will he be in the hospital? I've heard that the treatment begins to work quickly, so do you think he could be released to come home tomorrow? Please let me know, thank you.


Thanks for your question, and sorry to hear about your brother. I hope that he is well already as you read this. I encourage you to speak with his doctors about this. In general, serious skin infections can respond rapidly to appropriately directed antibiotic therapy. IV antibiotics tend to be among the most powerful, and so if the infection is concerning doctors will often turn to these first. These can also be used while doctors wait for bacterial information to be available, specifically, what bacteria is causing the infection and what antibiotics are the most effective at treating just that one bacteria rather than all of the others that are present on the body but not causing problems. As for how long he will need to be hospitalized, that depends on a number of factors. First, the seriousness of the infection will obviously be a factor. Next, how well it responds will also be important: if it improves immediately, your doctor will likely be reassured to some degree. Next, the available antibiotics that can be taken by mouth. Also, your brother's other medical problems will be important to consider, as they can affect a decision of whether or not to send him home soon or late. Please speak with his doctors about all of this, and good luck!

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