6 Treatments of Cellulitis

Cellulitis is relatively common, with a crude incidence rate of approximately 259.2 cases for every 10,000 person-years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In most cases, a lower extremity is affected.

Cellulitis is a type of bacterial infection usually caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, but some infections are the result of Staphylococcus aureus. In recent years, cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) causing cellulitis has increased in incidence. MRSA is a more serious infection caused by Staphylococcus bacteria that is resistant to many of the commonly used antibiotics that are prescribed to treat ordinary Staphylococcus infections.

The bacteria can get in due to a break or crack in your skin. Common issues that can create a risk for this infection include recent surgery, puncture wounds, athlete’s foot, cuts or scrapes, a skin ulcer or dermatitis. To a lesser degree, dry skin can also put you at risk for cellulitis.

Cellulitis usually affects one side of the body. The following symptoms are possible:

Skin redness that usually expands
Tenderness or pain
Fever
Blisters
Swelling
Warmth
Red spots
Skin dimpling
When the infection is left untreated, it can spread to your bloodstream and lymph nodes. At this stage, it is considered to be life-threatening.

While rare, it is possible for cellulitis to spread to the fascial lining, which is a deep layer of tissue. This is considered a medical emergency when it happens.Those who experience cellulitis more than once are at risk for damage to their lymphatic drainage system. In these cases, there is the potential for the affected limb to experience chronic swelling.When caught early, the prognosis is generally good for most people. It is important to utilize the proper treatment to get the infection under control as quickly as possible.

1. Rest the Area

One of the most important treatment methods is making sure that the affected area is rested as much as possible. Proper rest is imperative, but how long should you rest the area and how should you balance activity? These are common questions.

As soon as the symptoms of cellulitis start, the affected area should be rested. This is especially important if your leg is affected since staying on it can contribute to additional swelling and discomfort. When the infected area has excess swelling, this can delay healing time. This is because proper blood flow is imperative for the affected tissues to heal since blood delivers oxygen and critical nutrients. When there is excess swelling present, it can slow how quickly blood is able to travel through the vessels.

It is generally recommended that you rest the affected area until you notice an improvement in your symptoms. However, if your doctor gives you a specific time frame, it is best to stick to it since they determined this based on your current condition and overall health.

When you are resting, this does not mean that you have to stay in bed 24/7. You can move around as needed to do basic activities of daily living, such as making food, using the restroom and attending to your hygiene needs.