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Diagnosis and management of lower limb cellulitis

Lower limb cellulitis is a common acute medical condition that results in a large number of hospital admissions (Clinical Resource Efficiency Support Team [CREST], 2005). It is a growing and costly problem. The NHS spends between 172254 million a year on inpatient treatment of people with lower leg cellulitis (Curtis, 2011). The clinical presentation of cellulitis is similar to other conditions and diagnostic errors are common and may prolong hospital stay (Nazarko, 2012). Community nurses are involved in caring for people at risk of cellulitis and are often responsible for referring on suspected cases and then continuing treatment upon discharge. It is essential that community nurses are aware of the evidence base for diagnosis, differential diagnosis, treatment and management, as well as the long-term prevention of cellulitis. This paper discusses the evidence base for treatment and prevention of cellulitis and presents a case study.