Benefits Of Visiting A Dermatologist When You Have Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection that can affect the layers of your skin along with the subcutaneous layer of tissue beneath. If left untreated, cellulitis can continue to spread into deeper tissues of the body and eventually cause necrosis. In serious cases, untreated cellulitis can quickly turn deadly. Because cellulitis is an infection that affects the skin, it is highly recommended that you visit a dermatologist for treatment.

Reduce the Likelihood of Misdiagnosis

Dermatologists can treat a wide variety of skin problems that range from acne to eczema and even cellulitis. Keep in mind that there are a few conditions that resemble cellulitis, therefore leading to a misdiagnosis. If you are treated for a specific skin problem and do not show signs of improvement after a day or two, have the dermatologist recheck you. The symptoms of cellulitis include:

  • Reddened area of the skin that continues to expand
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Fever (area of redness may become fevered)
  • Dimpling of the skin
  • Blisters
  • Red spots

One condition that may mimic cellulitis is stasis dermatitis. Stasis dermatitis affects the legs. Although cellulitis can appear anywhere on the body, it most commonly occurs on the legs, thus the potential for misdiagnosis. The condition can cause pain, swelling, and tenderness, much like cellulitis. The symptoms of stasis dermatitis include:

  • Swelling in the leg
  • Pain and tenderness of the calf
  • Feeling of heaviness or aching in the leg (worsens when standing)

Fortunately, dermatologists are trained to recognize various ailments, which is why you should never assume you have a particular ailment. Instead, make an appointment to be seen as soon as you experience any problems in order to receive a proper diagnosis.

Improve Effectiveness of Treatment

A dermatologist may prescribe you with oral antibiotics and perhaps a topical cream to treat cellulitis. In some situations, the antibiotic and cream may work to treat the problem. However, some individuals require a stronger, sometimes more aggressive form of treatment.

In some cases, you may need antibiotics delivered intravenously. You may also require surgical intervention to remove the bacterial infection. Dermatologists can provide you with the correct treatment based on the severity of your condition. If your body does not respond to antibiotics after a day or two, the dermatologist may recommend one of the other treatment options for you.

Keep in mind that there are steps you can take at home to help treat cellulitis. For example, you can use a warm — but not wet — compress on the area to get the blood flowing and promote healing. You should also use a cold compress to reduce swelling and pain in the afflicted area of your body. For best results, alternate between the hot and cold compresses every 20-30 minutes.

You should also elevate the area if possible. For example, if you have cellulitis on your leg, make sure you put a pillow under your leg to elevate it. Your dermatologist may recommend that you reduce your daily activity. The more time you spend with the area elevated, the better your results. As with any illness, rest is especially important for fighting the infection.

At-Home Prevention

There are a few things you can do to prevent another outbreak of cellulitis. Although you cannot always prevent punctures to the skin, such as bug bites that may lead to a cellulitis outbreak, you can keep your skin clean. Make sure you wash yourself daily from head to toe using an antibacterial soap. Keeping your skin clean will reduce the likelihood of a cellulitis outbreak.

Avoid any activities that might cause injury to your skin. If you do partake in activities that may damage your skin, make sure you wear the appropriate clothing in order to reduce injury. For example, if you plan on going hiking, make sure you wear long pants and sleeves to avoid scrapes and punctures from sticks and thorns.

Wash your skin thoroughly as soon as you receive an injury. Immediately after receiving a scrape, puncture or laceration, head directly to a bathroom and wash the area with antibacterial soap and warm water. You should also go the extra mile by cleaning the area with hydrogen peroxide or even a bit of rubbing alcohol to ensure the area is clean.

Look into different dermatology services if you have specific concerns regarding cellulitis. Dermatologists can assist you in treating an outbreak and even preventing a future outbreak thanks to additional tips and advice.