Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and the deep tissues. It can happen at any age and it usually occurs in one of the lower limbs, although it can affect other areas of the body. The affected area usually becomes swollen and sore, making everyday activities more difficult. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can ease painful symptoms and reduce the risk of the reinfection.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of cellulitis vary from person to person, but it normally causes the skin to become swollen, sore, warm and red. Small blisters may also appear on the surface of the skin. As well as the changes to your skin, the infection can also cause nausea and shivering, and make you feel generally unwell.
What causes it?
There are a few possible causes of cellulitis. However, it is normally triggered by group of bacteria, namely group A streptococcal or staphylococcal. The infection develops when this bacteria travels down through an area of the skin’s surface that is damaged. If you suffer from a skin condition such as eczema or a fungal infection like athlete’s foot, which causes the skin to break, you could be at a higher risk of getting cellulitis. You may also be prone to the condition if you have a problem with your immune system or have diabetes.
When should I see a GP?
If an area of your skin suddenly feels sore, hot or looks inflamed, you should contact your GP as soon as possible. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the condition by examining your symptoms, assess the severity of the infection and recommend the most suitable treatment for your condition.
If you experience vomiting, a high temperature (38C or above), rapid breathing or heartbeat, dizziness, a fever, or you feel confused and disorientated, you will need to seek medical assistance immediately. These symptoms could signal that the infection has spread from the skin to your bloodstream or other areas of your body, which can be a life-threatening health risk and will need urgent hospital treatment.
What treatments are there?
Only severe cases of cellulitis will require hospital admission. In most cases, the condition will improve when antibiotics are used in conjunction with home treatments. However, the treatment you require will depend on what has triggered the infection, how serious your symptoms are and whether you have any other health conditions.
There are a number of self-help treatments you can use to lessen the pain and speed up your recovery. For example, if the infection is in your lower limbs, keeping your legs raised above your hips while you are resting can help to ease discomfort and reduce swelling. If the area that is affected is your arm, try to keep your lower arm held above your elbow as much as possible. If your limbs are too uncomfortable to elevate, lying down can relieve pain. However, you should still try to keep your joints as active as possible to promote healthy circulation.
To reduce the chance of cellulitis reoccurring, you should try to avoid activities where you could be at risk of getting cuts and grazes, such as gardening, DIY or cleaning the house. It is also a good idea to wear protective clothing and cover up cuts and wounds with plasters and dressings to prevent bacteria from entering your skin. Keeping your hands clean, regularly moisturising your skin and drinking plenty of water throughout the day can also help to stop the skin from becoming dry and breaking. If you suffer from eczema or athlete's foot, try to get it treated as soon as possible.
If the infection is causing you severe pain or a high temperature, over the counter painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used to ease symptoms.
How can adjustable beds and riser recliners help?
Our adjustable beds and riser recliners can be used to reduce some of the symptoms associated with cellulitis. Our electrically powered beds and chairs can be adjusted into a range of positions to help reduce strain on the affected area and elevate your limbs while you rest. All of our products also include our unique NHC Cyclo-Therapy massage technology, which has been medically proven to help treat a range of health conditions. The three-way vibration in our cycloidal Therapy works to improve circulation, reduce swelling and aid the recovery process - all from the comfort of your own home. This form of massage therapy is most effective when combined with antibiotic treatment for cellulitis.
To find out more about how our products can help with your particular health condition, you can download our medical information guide or get in touch with our friendly and helpful team today. We will be happy to provide you with further information and help you make an informed decision.