Cellulitis cannot always be prevented, but the risk of developing cellulitis can be minimised by avoiding injury to the skin, maintain good hygiene and by managing skin conditions like tinea and eczema.
A common cause of infection to the skin is via the fingernails so handwashing is very important as well as good nail care in regards trimming and cleaning. Generally maintaining good hygiene such as daily showering and use of cleaned clothing may help reduce the skins contact with infection.
If you have broken skin, keep the wound clean by washing daily with soap and waterand cover the wound with a clean bandage every day and watch for signs of infection.
People who are susceptible to cellulitis, for example people with diabetes or with poor circulation, should take care to protect themselves with appropriate footwear, gloves and long pants when gardening or bushwalking, when it's easy to get scratched or bitten. Follow good skin care measures such as regularly checking your feet for signs of injury, moisturising the skin and trimming fingernails and toenails regularly.
People with swelling of the arm or leg due to a condition such as lymphoedema sometimes develop recurrent cellulitis. In these cases the first step is to work with your doctor to find the cause of the swelling and prevent the cellulitis happening. The treatment of the cellulitis remains the same for any cause. While cellulitis is not generally contagious, it's important to always wash your hands before and after touching the infected area. This will reduce the chance of spreading the infection further.
In people who have cellulitis more than two or three times, taking antibiotics for long periods (even a year or two) can help.
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Last reviewed: November 2016