Cellulitis is caused by an infection with bacteria. There is no single way to prevent cellulitis, however, the following precautions can help to reduce the risk of developing cellulitis as well as other infections.
Treat skin wounds
If you have any cuts, grazes or bites on the skin, keep it clean. Clean the damaged skin with soap and water and, if necessary, apply an antiseptic cream. If the wound is big, keep it covered with a plaster or dressing. Change the plaster or dressing everyday or whenever it becomes wet or dirty. Applying plasters and dressings reduces the risk of further injury to the skin and it also acts as a barrier against bacteria entering the skin. Watch for signs of infection such as redness, pain or any kind of discharge. If it looks infected, consult a doctor.
Trim your fingernails
Avoid scratching your skin with nails if it itches. Keeping the fingernails short and clean reduces the risk of skin damage and infection due to scratching of skin. This is especially important if you have an itchy skin condition such as atopic eczema or chickenpox.
Keep your hands clean
Wash your hands with soap and water before treating or touching any wound or skin condition.
Keep your skin moisturised
If you have dry skin or your skin is prone to cracking, apply moisturiser to keep your skin well moisturised. Cracked and damaged skin allows entry of bacteria.
Care for your skin
If you have diabetes or any other condition, which increases your risk of skin infection, take extra precautions to prevent skin wounds. Here are some measures of good skin-care.
- Check your feet for daily for signs of infection or injury: this can help to diagnose any infection in its early stage.
- Apply moisturiser daily as keeping skin lubricated and well moisturised helps prevent cracking and peeling.
- Trim your fingernails and toenails carefully and avoid injuring the surrounding skin.
- In cold weather, wear gloves to protect your hands.
- Wear appropriate footwear to protect your feet.
- If you develop any superficial skin infections such as athlete's foot or any cut, consult a doctor immediately. Don't wait to start a treatment. Superficial infections from skin can easily spread into deeper layers and lead to cellulitis.
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Read more on Cellulitis Prevention.