You’re enjoying a lovely walk on the beach, cooling off in the waves. If you have an abrasion or other opening in your skin, though, you may unfortunately come home with more than a tan.
Bacteria look for opportunities to invade our bodies. Even a dip in an ocean or lake contaminated with marine bacteria may result in cellulitis. If you notice a skin rash that doesn’t readily heal, contact Dr. Jeffrey A. Klein and our knowledgeable team at HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California to identify the problem.
Dr. Klein and our staff pinpoint your infection and offer steps to prevent its spread. Although we can’t test specifically for cellulitis, we can determine which bacteria are present. Pain, swelling, and redness may also indicate infection. Our certified medical skin care professionals ascertain whether your rash is cellulitis or another issue.
Who’s at risk for cellulitis?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, doctors diagnose approximately 14.5 million cases of cellulitis in the United States every year. Anyone with a cut or abrasion can develop cellulitis. Diabetics, overweight individuals, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems remain even more susceptible.
It’s especially crucial to treat infections quickly. Tips to prevent skin infections, such as cellulitis, include:
- Moisturize: Lubricate undamaged skin to prevent cracks and peeling
- Inspect: Check skin for possible injury
- Protect: Wear gloves or shoes and socks to avoid needless abrasions
- Cover: Bandage wounds properly to reduce risk of infection
If you’re nursing a wound, clean it regularly with soap and water. Contact us before your tiny rash grows larger.
How we treat cellulitis
Once we diagnose cellulitis, we provide several ways to get it under control. Swelling and itching are not due to the bacteria, but to your immune system’s efforts to fight the growing infection. We attack the bacteria, as well as the symptoms, in a variety of ways, such as:
- Cleaning your wound
- Draining an abscess
- Prescribing oral and/or IV antibiotics
Fortunately, a short course of oral antibiotics generally provides relief from cellulitis caused by such bacteria as Streptococci or Staphylococci. More severe cases may require IV antibiotics.
After your visit, reduce inflammation and limit the infection by:
- Wearing compression garments (such as wraps or stockings)
- Applying a damp, cool cloth to the area
- Dressing the region properly
- Frequent washing with gentle soap and water
- Use of a special wound wash
It’s crucial to rule out other issues that may be causing the problem, such as dermatitis or panniculitis, which produces painful bumps in the subcutaneous fat layer beneath your skin, mimicking cellulitis.
Help is on the way
Dr. Klein and our talented team determine the cause, and subsequent treatment, of your rash. Left untreated, cellulitis may spread, turning a simple infection into a life-threatening situation. If you notice a rash, redness, or itching, and wish to discuss this or other medical dermatological or cosmetic issues, contact Dr. Klein and HK Dermatology at 949-248-1632, or book an appointment online today.