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Cellulitis ED leaflet

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  • You have been diagnosed with cellulitis, a skin infection. This is an infection of the skin where the skin is red and warm and if the infection is not treated, it may spread along the skin and make you more generally unwell.
  • We have arranged for you to have your cellulitis treated either at home or in our ambulatory care areas, where you will receive IV antibiotics and review by out medical staff.
  • We hope you will find this more convenient then having to stay overnight in hospital.
  • On leaving you should have been told when and where you will receive a further dose of antibiotics and an assessment. This may require a visit to the hospital or it may be possible that someone comes to your home to give the antibiotics into your veins.

When to seek further help

Please contact your GP or call 111 if you feel your symptoms are worsening at home and you are feeling unwell.

Worsening of symptoms may include:

  • Feeling generally more unwell or feverish.
  • The skin area changing colour or the affected area dramatically increasing in size.

What to expect when I leave hospital?

You will be discharged from hospital with an intravenous line if we feel you need further IV antibiotics before we can switch you to oral tablets.

We will organise for you to return for daily antibiotics in our ambulatory care area either at the Princess Royal Hospital or Royal Sussex County Hospital until our community team is ready to administer your antibiotics at home instead. The OPAT team will phone you once home treatment is available.

Your treatment plan may include:

  • Several days of antibiotics administered through your intravenous line either in the ambulatory area or at home.
  • Arrangements for blood tests, possibly on day four.
  • An appointment to see a doctor in an ambulatory care area.

Cannula care

  • Keep your cannula dry and covered with the dressing provided.
  • If your cannula does come out, apply pressure with clean material or plaster. A new cannula will be inserted the next day.
  • Occasionally the cannula site becomes infected. If skin around the cannula becomes red or painful either come to hospital or, if you are being managed by OPAT, please call the OPAT team and leave a message and they will contact you or call your community IV team.

Medical review

  • Expect to be in the unit for several hours. We will give you a dose of IV antibiotics and you will be seen by a senior doctor. Free tea, coffee and snacks are provided.
  • At Royal Sussex County Hospital go to the Emergency Ambulatory Care Unit. It is located on level 5 of the Thomas Kemp tower (the same floor as A&E). The entrance is next to the WRVS coffee and snack shop and the Acute Medical Unit.
  • At Princess Royal Hospital go to the Rapid Access Medical Unit (RAMU). RAMU is located next to A&E.


  • For general medical advice please use the NHS website, walk-in-centres, the NHS 111 service or your GP.
  • NHS advice 111.
  • Your own GP and practice nurses are also available for general advice on care of your cellulitis.

Contact details

  • Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) Team. Telephone 01273 696955, extension 7056 (weekdays 9am to 5pm).
  • Rapid Access Medical Unit (RAMU) (Princess Royal Hospital). Telephone 01444 441881, extension 8557 (weekdays and weekends 8am to 8.30pm).
  • Emergency Ambulatory Care Unit (EACU) (Royal Sussex County Hospital). Telephone 01273 696955, extension 64002 (weekdays 8am to 10pm, weekends 8am to 8pm).

Note: Contact numbers and opening times are subject to change. Please call the main hospital telephone numbers if you are not able to get through to the right team.

This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

The information in this article is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

Publication Date: August 2019

Review Date: October 2022

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