My husband has had cellulitis three times in a single year. What can he do to prevent recurrent cellulitis?

Answers from Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.

To help prevent recurrent episodes of cellulitis — a bacterial infection in the deepest layer of skin — keep skin clean and well moisturized. Prevent cuts and scrapes by wearing appropriate clothing and footwear, using gloves when necessary, and trimming fingernails and toenails with care.

Factors that may increase your risk of cellulitis include:

  • Pre-existing skin diseases, such as athlete's foot
  • Puncture injuries, such as insect or animal bites
  • Surgical incisions or pressure sores
  • Immune system problem, such as diabetes
  • Injuries that occur when you're in a lake, river or ocean
  • Hot tub use

Cellulitis usually makes the affected skin hot, red, swollen and painful. Your skin may look pebbled, like an orange peel. Seek prompt medical attention at the first sign of a skin infection. Treatment is usually with antibiotics. Some people who frequently develop cellulitis may benefit from long-term antibiotic treatment to prevent recurrent infections.

Mar. 23, 2013