3 Ways to Alleviate Cellulitis Symptoms
The best way to prevent cellulitis is to keep any cut, cracking or incision in the skin covered, treating it with an antibiotic ointment until a scab forms. If you notice any redness around a wound, or if the area around it feels warm or sore, an infection could be present. See a doctor immediately if cellulitis symptoms occur.
The first line of defense against cellulitis is oral antibiotics, usually those that have been proven effective against strep and staph infections, such as versions of penicillin. Typically doctors prescribe a two-week course of antibiotics to be taken at home, and usually the symptoms start disappearing within a few days. It's important to take the entire prescription of antibiotics, even after the symptoms of pain, redness, swelling and warmth are gone.
Elevation, Rest and Pain Relief
During the first few days of treatment with oral antibiotics, it's helpful to keep the infected area elevated higher than the heart. Doing so reduces swelling and speeds recovery. Warm compresses also help the area feel better, and doctors may also prescribe pain relievers. In addition, a patient with cellulitis must rest completely during treatment.
If cellulitis doesn't respond to oral antibiotic treatment after three days, contact your doctor right away. If symptoms haven't started to go away or if they're accompanied by a high fever, patients with cellulitis are typically hospitalized for treatment with intravenous antibiotics. In addition, patients with compromised immune systems or high blood pressure often need hospitalization for observation during treatment. If cellulitis spreads from the site of the original infection, it can affect the whole body, resulting in bone or blood infections, inflammation of the lymph vessels and gangrene.
Cellulitis is a potentially serious bacterial infection of the skin's dermis and subcutaneous levels, typically caused by the bacteria Streptococcus and Staphylococcus, though other bacteria can also be involved. It most often occurs as an opportunistic infection subsequent to surgery, a deep cut or getting a tattoo. Fungal infections such as athlete's foot or skin diseases such as eczema can also break the skin open enough to allow the bacteria entry to the dermal level. While cellulitis is not contagious, it can be dangerous, and any infection must be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible.