Cellulitis refers to a common and potentially serious infection that occurs due to bacteria. The bacteria infect the deeper skin layers as well as the tissue underneath the skin. Patients should seek timely dermatology treatment to address the symptoms of cellulitis.
The initial sign of cellulitis is often red, inflamed skin. Upon touching, the infected site usually feels tender and warm. This infection can manifest anywhere on the skin. In adults, it typically occurs in a lower leg. Cellulitis tends to appear on the neck or face in children.
Cellulitis typically develops in a leg, and redness and inflammation in both legs typically mean that the patient has another condition, such as stasis dermatitis or contact dermatitis.
If a person suspects that they have cellulitis, they should receive prompt medical care. If diagnosed and treated early, cellulitis typically clears fully without causing any long-term issues.
The infection can spread rapidly without treatment. The bacteria may travel to lymph nodes and enter the bloodstream. This can cause a blood infection or permanently compromise lymph vessels, which are a part of the immune system. There are other associated complications that may develop, as well.
Most people recover completely before complications occur. If detected early, the doctor can treat with oral (taken by mouth) antibiotics as well as provide good wound care.
After initiating cellulitis treatment, the patient should notice an improvement in 24 to 48 hours. If that is not the case, the patient should contact the doctor’s office. Patients with severe cellulitis may require treatment in a hospital.
How to Prevent a Recurrence of Cellulitis?
People who have had cellulitis in the past are at an increased risk of getting it again. This condition repeatedly recurs in some people despite successful treatment. The cellulitis develops in the same location every time for a majority of people.
The chances of getting cellulitis again can be reduced with the following measures:
Avoid Injuring the Skin
Skin injuries include scrapes, cuts, sunburns, burns, stings from bees and other insects, abrasions, and frostbite. The patient can avoid an injury by being cautious when engaging in any activity, such as cooking, gardening, or exercising.
Treat the Wounds Immediately
In case the patient injures their skin, they should promptly:
- Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water
- Apply an antibiotic ointment
- Cover the wound with a bandage
- Clean and change the bandage daily (or as frequently as the Doctor recommends) until the wound heals
Keep the Skin Clean and Moisturized
Keeping the skin clean washes away bacteria that lead to cellulitis. Moisturizing prevents cracks in the skin, which can cause bacteria to enter the body.
An effective way to reduce or prevent dry skin is to apply moisturizer within three minutes of taking baths or shower. In case the hands are dry, using a moisturizer after the patient washes their hands and frequently during the course of the day can offer relief.
Keep the Nails Well-Manicured
The patient could accidentally scratch themselves with a broken nail. They should be careful not to injure the surrounding skin when cutting their toenails and fingernails.
If the patient had cellulitis in an arm, they should have blood drawn from the arm that has not had the condition. The person drawing the blood should take it from an area of the body that has not had cellulitis.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
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