For cellulitis prevention, it is crucial to disinfect and cover open cuts and scrapes, as well as to continue managing properly any skin diseases preceding the injury. Moreover, due to the high frequency of recurrences of this type of infection, we should also become more vigilant after the first episode of cellulitis has occurred. Sometimes, this means that you have to take antibiotics for longer time periods, even when the infection seems to have been eradicated.
Directions for Cellulitis Prevention
Keep your skin clean by maintaining good personal hygiene, this is very important.
Cellulitis prevention relies on the early detection of cellulitis signs, which consist in pain and irritation in a region of the skin.
If the skin looks inflamed and you notice a progressive worsening from one day to the next, we recommend to consult a health practitioner as soon as possible.
For sure, avoid walking barefoot on unknown and exposed surface areas such as pavement or a garage, a messy beach, woods etc.
If you have a skin condition due to vascular insufficiency, definitely avoid situations that may be damaging to the skin.
In case of skin injury, certainly, wash the area with soap and water. You may also use a topical antibiotic available over-the-counter, and cover the area with a dressing. Check the wound regularly, to make sure the injury is getting better and becoming less inflamed over the next few days.
If you have not had a recent health check-up, ask your health professional to make sure you do not have diabetes or any other medical condition affecting the liver or the kidneys, which could explain the predisposition to a skin infection. These conditions may be present and not yet manifest by symptoms and signs.
Listen to your medical practitioner’s advice on what to do or not do to encourage healing. Consult him/her in case you have a swelling in your limbs that does not go away.
Particular types of injuries may be at higher risk for inflammation and infection than others. Be sure to contact your physician in case of:
- Crushed tissue that bleeds, burns that blister, frostbite;
- Bites (animal or human);
- Injuries in contact with seawater;
- Or crushed tissue contaminated with soil;
Prevention of a Recurrence
Clinical studies have shown that recurrence of cellulitis may occur in up to 50% of former patients. Because of that, individuals who already had this medical condition must take all possible preventive measures to avoid a recurrence.
Infection also tends to relapse in individuals with particular medical conditions that can lead to skin breakdown (edema), fungal or bacterial inflammation, diabetes, or peripheral arterial disease.
Tips for the prevention of a recurrence
Skin must be clean and well moisturized, nails well-tended. In the case of edema, support stockings and good hygiene will help to prevent cellulitis recurrence. Fungal infections are particularly frequent in chronically ill patients, treated with multiple antibiotics; using antifungal drugs according to medical prescription, may also help in the prevention of recurrences.
Maintaining a swollen limb elevated while lying in bed will improve lymphatic circulation and relieve pain. Those with chronic lymphedema may also benefit from compression garments.
In rare instances of individuals with a very high risk of a recurrence, a physician may have to prescribe a long course of antibiotic treatment for weeks and months, as a way to prevent a recurrence.
As final advice, it is best to avoid having blood tests drawn from the affected limb.
Image credit: DepositPhotos.com
Medically reviewed by Dr. Thouria Bensaoula on Oct 23, 2019.
Last article update: 10/28/2019