General Category > Skin Complaints and Skin Disorders

Cellulitis vs. Shingles


chicago mom:
My 25 year old daughter has had three episodes of cellulitis in the past year (at least that is what the doctors say).  First two were on her shin and lower leg, and the third was on her buttocks.  She has moved recently and is having another episode now...again on her buttocks.  The new out-of-state doctor says she thinks it may be shingles, and not cellulitis.  Over the past few days, she has developed blisters inside the rash area, which have broken and are weeping.  She has been put on Augmentin and an anti-viral medicine. (she's allergic to some antibiotics) They keep doing bloodwork, but the only result is that it is positive for staph bacteria. 

Is there a definitive test that separates cellulitis from shingles?  Is there a medication regimen that can prohibit these outbreaks?  Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Hi, and welcome to skincell!

I was diagnosed with Cellulitis in January 07, in my foot.  There wasn't a rash of any kind, the part of the foot affected was swollen, very red and hot to touch.  It was too swollen to move my toe.  The dr. said I'd got it from having open splits as a result of my PPP.  Also that it would be staph or strep. I was given antibiotics, Doxycycline.  Cellulitis can be dangerous if left unattended, so I was told.

I can't help you further I'm afraid.  I would think Shingles and Cellulitis would present completely differently ???

Good luck, and please keep us posted.


Yes CJ,
Cellulitis is not a particularly good diagnostic term since it can refer to staph, strep or other bacterial infection.  Easy to mix the term with cellulite too but there is not a relationship.

Shingles on the other hand is viral in origin like chicken pox.  (Herpes Zoster).  All of these diseases can have some serious consequences and are worth paying close attention to.

Chicago Mom,
I suspect it is most likely to be staph from what you have said.  Such infection can be rather difficult.  Good luck.

chicago mom:
Thank you all for your input.  After consulting with an infectious disease specialist, it has been determined that my daughter does indeed have shingles.  The doctor is suggesting the new vaccine (Zostavax) just approved by the FDA.  But it was approved three months ago just for people over 60 and we're not really comfortable with the amount of research that has been done yet on young adults.  In the meantime, she has been put on a daily regimen of Valtrex.  If she does not have the vaccine, the doctor says she will need to take this for a long time. 

Has anyone else heard about....or had this vaccine?   Thanks.


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