Cellulitis – What Is It?
Cellulitis is a very common disease that hundreds of thousands of Americans (roughly two to three percent of the US population) deal with each year. Cellulitis develops due to staph bacteria. Some telltale signs of cellulitis are pain and irritation, as well as blistering of the skin. Due to how common cellulitis is, people who are suffering from it are desperate for ways to treat it. That is why I wrote this article.
Some common treatments for cellulitis include draining the pus out of the blisters that have developed on the skin and / or using doctor prescribed antibiotics to treat the infection. These treatments are especially effective at quelling the symptoms associated with cellulitis if you catch the infection while it is still developing.
But if you ignore the symptoms or just don’t know you have cellulitis and you let it fully develop, you could run into some trouble. There are some really nasty complications from a full-blown cellulitis infection – very similar to the complications of a staph infection.
In fact, cellulitis and staph infections are pretty similar. Some of the nasty complications from a cellulitis infection include giant buildups of a pus under the skin that cause a lot of irritation, inflammation of the infected tissue that can be permanent, damage or total destruction of the skin tissue in the general area that can be permanent, impairment of lymphatic vessels, and harmful bacteria getting into the bloodstream.
If harmful bacteria get into your bloodstream and spreads, you will develop a disease known as bacteremia, which can be deadly. As you can see, it is vital that you identify the symptoms of cellulitis and get it treated as soon as possible.
And to make matters even worse, a cellulitis infection can spread from one infected person to another. And it can be easily spread too – just simple skin contact with an infected person can cause you to get a cellulitis infection. You can even get infected just by using a personal item of an infected person. In fact, those two ways are the most common ways that cellulitis infections are spread and that is why these infections are so common in the United States.
The 5 C's Of Cellulitis
To help you avoid getting a cellulitis infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified and laid out the five main risk factors of cellulitis. To make them easy to remember, they are called the “5 C’s” and go as follows:
Being in a crowded space makes it super easy for the cellulitis infection to spread
As previously stated, constant skin contact throughout the day increases your chances of getting a cellulitis infection because it all it takes is to rub elbows with just one person who has the infection to make it spread to you
Your skin is compromised if you have open wounds or cuts, the infection can easily enter your skin through these openings
Contamination of Personal Items
As stated earlier, you can come down with a cellulitis infection just by using an item that someone with a cellulitis infection has used
Not being clean is a huge risk factor for cellulitis because it creates the perfect breeding ground for the infection
In case it is not already obvious, the places where you are most likely to catch a cellulitis infection are places where there are a lot of people in a confined area that share items and skin contact. These places include houses, schools, military bases, prisons, medical centers (ironic, right?), and fitness centers.
Treating A Cellulitis Infection
How easy a cellulitis infection is to treat depends mainly on the severity of the infection. As I stated earlier, draining the pus out of blisters caused by the infection and using doctor prescribed cellulitis medication can treat the infection if you catch it in its early stages.
There are other ways of treating a cellulitis infection and preventing yourself from getting one in the first place, such as properly dressing any wounds and just practicing overall cleanliness.
#1: Do Not Overuse Antibiotics
A huge health problem has been brewing recently because of our over usage of antibiotics. Antibiotics are drugs that kill all bacteria – good and bad. This can lead to gut health issues and are the reason why health experts recommend you eat probiotic foods like yogurt. Anyways, our dependency on antibiotics has led to various nasty infections mutating a resistance to our antibiotics and thus creating what are known as ‘superbugs’. One recent prominent example of a superbug that ravaged the world is MRSA.
Antibiotics should only be taken when you almost certainly need them. By over using antibiotics you are making your immune system weak because it is not learning how to fight the infections that the antibiotics kill, thus making you more susceptible to mutated strains of the infection.
#2: Dress Open Wounds And Practice General Cleanliness
Whenever you get a serious cut on your skin, you should do your best to wash it out with water or hydrogen peroxide and dress it properly. If you leave it open, you are putting yourself at risk of developing an infection. Also, you should be sure to examine the wound and identify signs of an infection if they are starting to develop. This will allow you to get a head start on treating it and preventing yourself from spreading it to others. Dry skin can also cause openings in your skin that infections can sneak into, so make sure to keep your skin nice and moisturized with products such as aloe vera lotion.
General cleanliness is another no-brainer as fungus can develop on dirty skin and seep into your open wounds, which can make an infection even worse. Make sure to regularly disinfect personal objects around your house and workplace that you share with others to avoid getting the infection or spreading it to others if you already have it. Also, do not share personal objects that directly contact the skin, such as razors, as this can also spread the infection. And something that I always stress – WASH YOUR HANDS AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE!
#3: Use Natural Substances To Soothe Pain And Inflammation
If you are dealing with pain and swelling caused by the blisters and other rashes, you should try some of these natural remedies:
- Taking a warm shower and letting the water primarily fall on the infected areas. You could also take a warm bath and just let your entire body soak to make sure you are soothing all of the infected areas. I stress that it needs to be warm water, not HOT.
- Slowly and carefully stretch any infected areas so that the inactivity doesn’t cause them to get stiffer than they already are.
- Press a warm cloth or towel on the infected areas every day that you are dealing with the infection. You may even perform this treatment twice a day to soothe the infected areas.
- I know I told you to use lotion to keep your skin moisturized earlier, but be sure to keep any lotion you do apply away from the infected areas. This applies to any skin-applicable chemicals and oils (exceptions will be explained in next bullet), including cologne/perfume and scented soaps.
- You can apply some essential oils on the infected areas, but only after talking to your doctor or trusted clinician. One good example of an essential oil treatment for a cellulitis infection is a rash treatment with lavender oil. You can apply that directly to the inflamed areas in tandem with an oil with skin moisturizing properties like coconut. Perform this treatment multiple times throughout the day each day that you are dealing with the infection for best results.
Final Thoughts on Cellulitis
As you can see, a cellulitis infection is nothing to scoff at or ignore. It can lead to serious health problems including death at the very worst. You should take all of the necessary steps that I laid out to treat a cellulitis infection and prevent yourself from spreading it.
Also, if you do not have one but are always in places where your risk of getting one are high, you should follow the laid-out prevention methods to avoid getting an infection. Your best bet would be to catch it early and treat it without the use of antibiotics, but antibiotics may be necessary.