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

Answer 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. Promptly treat any cuts or infections on the skin's surface, such as athlete's foot.

Factors that may increase your risk of cellulitis include:

  • Preexisting skin diseases, such as athlete's foot
  • Puncture injuries, such as insect or animal bites
  • Surgical incisions or pressure sores
  • Immune system problems, such as diabetes
  • Injuries that occur when you're in a lake, river or ocean
  • Hot tub use
  • Swelling of a limb caused by trapped fluid (edema)

If you frequently develop cellulitis, your doctor might recommend long-term antibiotic treatment to prevent recurrent infections.

April 10, 2021