Dealing with cellulitis

Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and soft tissues underneath which happens when bacteria enter a break in the skin and spread. It will cause redness, swelling, pain or warmth. The lower leg is susceptible to this infection, but other areas of the body can also be affected such as the face. It affects the surface of the skin and the underlying tissues of the skin. It can also spread to the lymph nodes and bloodstream.

Symptoms of cellulitis

  • Redness or inflammation of the skin
  • Pain and tenderness in the affected area
  • A feeling of warmth in the area
  • Development of abscess with presence of pus
  • Skin becomes sore and development of rashes
    cellulitis

    Wash both hands properly before touching the affected area to prevent the spread of infection in other areas of the body.

  • Fever
  • The skin becomes tight and glossy

Severe symptoms

  • A feeling of being ill
  • Shaking and chills
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Warm skin
  • Muscle aches
  • Blisters and red streaks

Causes

  • Injuries that result to tearing the skin
  • Infections after a surgery
  • Bone infections underneath the skin such as a long-standing, open wound that is too deep and exposing the bone to bacteria.
  • Foreign objects in the skin
  • Skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema

Treatment

  • Rest the affected area. Wash both hands properly before touching the affected area to prevent the spread of infection in other areas of the body.
  • Wash the cellulitis regularly using soap, water and rinse to prevent spreading of the infection.
  • Wrap a cool and damp cloth around the affected area to make it comfortable. Soak a clean face cloth in cold water, wring out excess water and wrap the cloth around the area to lessen the pain and the swelling.
  • Elevate the affected area above the level of the heart to lessen the swelling and lessen the pain. It also increases flow of blood in the area and for fast healing of the condition. When lying in bed, raise the area in couple of pillows to keep it elevated.
  • While in the healing process, protect the wound by covering it with bandages. Change bandages at least every day to keep it protected while the body is accumulating natural defenses.
  • Take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to lessen the pain and the fever.
  • Avoid sharing personal belongings to other people such as towels, razors or clothing to prevent spreading of the disease.

Tips

  • Maintain good personal hygiene and keeping the skin clean regularly.
  • Avoid walking barefoot outdoors. Wear strong, properly fitting shoes or slippers and use loose cotton socks.
  • If the skin has an open cut, wash it immediately using soap and water. Make sure it heals the next day.
  • Moisturize the skin regularly to prevent it from flaking.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep the body well hydrated.
  • Treat athlete‚Äôs foot immediately to prevent turning it to a more severe infection
  • Avoid performing activities that result to cuts and wounds on the legs and feet such as hiking in bushing areas and gardening.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on cellulitis is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the indications by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

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