How to Prevent Cuts From Getting Infected

Preventing Cellulitis

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Insect bites can also get infected  and lead to cellulitis.

Bacteria, most commonly Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, cause cellulitis. This type of infection is quite common, and most people recover without complications.

Cellulitis Infection Information

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin brought on by injury (a cut, burn, or insect bite) or by a skin condition, such as eczema, skin ulcer, or athlete's foot. The infection starts at the outermost layer of skin but may head to underlying tissue and the bloodstream. The infected area (most often on the arms, legs, or face) will swell, turn red, and become tender and painful. Cellulitis is treated with antibiotics, and most people recover with no complications.

Who's at Risk for Cellulitis?

Anyone with an abrasion, wound, or other break in the skin can develop cellulitis, but older people; those with weakened immune systems; and those with conditions that inhibit healing and circulation, such as diabetes and peripheral arterial disease, are at higher risk. People who retain fluid because of edema, those who have surgery that could result in slow lymphatic drainage (the lymph nodes hold the bacteria-fighting white blood cells), people who undergo liposuction or other plastic surgery procedures, and intravenous drug users are also at higher risk.

Defensive Measures Against Cellulitis

Be sure to keep any open wound clean and dry and use an antibacterial or antimicrobial ointment. If you have a condition that puts you at higher risk for cellulitis, be extra diligent about protecting any open wounds and follow your physician's orders for properly caring for your condition. Finally, if you are going to handle fish, meat, poultry, soil, or any other potentially bacteria-laden items and you have an open wound, be sure to wear protective gloves.

Lymphangitis, a bacterial infection, happens when bacteria enter your body through a wound and travel to the lymph nodes. Keep reading to learn more about this infection, which can cause chills, fever, rapid heartbeat, and headache.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.