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Background: Cellulitis is a painful infection of the skin and underlying tissues, commonly affecting the lower leg. Approximately one-third of people experience recurrence. Patients’ ability to recover from cellulitis or prevent recurrence is likely to be influenced by their understanding of the condition. Aim: To explore patients’ perceptions of cellulitis, and their information needs. Design and setting: Mixed-methods study comprising semi-structured, face-to-face interviews and a cross-sectional survey, recruiting through primary and secondary care, and advertising. Method: Adults aged ≥18 years with a history of cellulitis were invited to take part in a survey, qualitative interview, or both. Results: In all, 30 interviews were conducted between August 2016 and July 2017. Qualitative data highlighted a low awareness of cellulitis before the first episode, uncertainty about when it had been diagnosed, concern/surprise at the severity of cellulitis, and a perceived insufficient information provision. People were surprised that they had never heard of cellulitis and that they had not received advice or leaflets giving self-care information. Some sought information from the internet and found this confusing. A total of 240 surveys were completed (response rate 17%). These showed that, although many participants had received information on the treatment of cellulitis (60.0%, n = 144), they often reported receiving no information about causes (60.8%, n = 146) or prevention of recurrence (73.3%, n = 176). Conclusion: There is a need to provide information for people with cellulitis, particularly in regard to naming their condition, the management of acute episodes, and how to reduce the risk of recurrences.

More information Original publication




Journal article







Publication Date





279 - 286


Project no. 319 PI: Miriam Santer


cellulitis, dermatology, information, mixed methods, patient experience, primary health care