If your cellulitis recurs, your doctor may recommend preventive antibiotics. 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 a protective cream or ointment. For most surface wounds, an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment (Neosporin, Polysporin, others) provides adequate protection.
- Cover your wound with a bandage. Change bandages at least daily.
- 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 injury. Good skin care measures include the following:
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- Inspect your feet daily. Regularly check your feet for signs of injury so you can catch 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 infections on the skin's surface (superficial), such as athlete's foot. Superficial skin infections can easily spread from person to person. Don't wait to start treatment.
- Cellulitis. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec10/ch119/ch119b.html. Accessed Dec. 7, 2014.
- Baddour LM. Cellulitis and erysipelas. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 7, 2014.
- Keller EC, et al. Distinguishing cellulitis from its mimics. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2012;79:547.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Cellulitis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2009.
- Skin care. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/skin-care.html. Accessed Dec. 8, 2014.
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