To help prevent cellulitis and other infections, take these precautions when you have a skin wound:
- Wash your wound daily with soap and water. Do this gently as part of your normal bathing.
- Apply an antibiotic cream or ointment. For most surface wounds, a single- or double-antibiotic ointment provides adequate protection.
- Watch for signs of infection. Redness, pain and drainage all signal possible infection and the need for medical evaluation.
People with diabetes and those with poor circulation need to take extra precautions to prevent skin wounds and treat any cuts or cracks in the skin promptly. Good skin-care measures include the following:
Feb. 23, 2012
- Inspect your feet daily. Regularly check your feet for signs of injury so you can catch any infections early.
- Moisturize your skin regularly. Lubricating your skin helps prevent cracking and peeling.
- Trim your fingernails and toenails carefully. Take care not to injure the surrounding skin.
- Protect your hands and feet. Wear appropriate footwear and gloves.
- Promptly treat any superficial skin infections, such as athlete's foot. Infections on the surface of the skin (superficial) can easily spread from person to person. Don't wait to start treatment.
- Cellulitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec10/ch119/ch119b.html. Accessed Nov. 10, 2011.
- Baddour LM. Cellulitis and erysipelas. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 10, 2011.
- Stevens DL. Infections of the skin, muscles, and soft tissues. In: Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Nov. 10, 2011.
- Gunderson CG. Cellulitis: Definition, etiology and clinical features. The American Journal of Medicine. In press. Accessed Nov. 10, 2011.
- Kilburn SA, et al. Interventions for cellulites and erysipelas (review). The Cochrane Collaboration. 2010;6.
- Bailey E, et al. Cellulitis: Diagnosis and management. Dermatologic Therapy. 2011;24:229.
- Eron LJ. In the clinic: Cellulitis and soft tissue infections. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2009;150:1.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 16, 2011.