Cellulitis can strike without warning, but remember that there are ways to ensure that this potentially dangerous infection will not affect you or your loved ones. Remember that practicing proper hygiene is the core of cellulitis prevention, so keep these simple hygiene tips in mind.
Wash Your Wounds Properly
Making sure that any cut, wound or insect or animal bite is clean at all times will help reduce your risk of bacterial infection. Ideally, wash the injury with clean water and a safe and mild soap that does not contain triclosan, triclocarban or fragrance.1 Triclosan is particularly problematic, as it has been linked to:
Endocrine hormone disruption
Increased risk of cancer
Increased allergies to peanuts and hay fever
Interference with muscle contraction and activity
Rinse the wound with water (cool or warm water is OK) for five to 10 minutes to ensure that all dirt and debris are removed from the areas. Using a sprayer will also help clean the wound out. When soaping the wound, use a clean washcloth or a piece of gauze to gently scrub it. Use only mild pressure, as extreme scrubbing can disrupt the area and prolong the healing time.
In addition, make sure you wash your hands before touching the wound, to help reduce the potential for transferring bacteria from your hand to your wound.
Your wound or cut may bleed while you're cleaning it, so use direct pressure to stop the bleeding. If possible, you can also elevate the affected area above your heart to reduce the amount of blood in the area and help stop the bleeding. Finally, cover the injury with gauze or bandage to keep it moist and clean. Wounds heal better if they are kept moist and don't scab, and they are also less likely to scar.2,3
Use These to Speed Up Wound Healing Instead
Colloidal silver is a great alternative to hydrogen peroxide, as it has been shown to have antimicrobial properties and is effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Tests have found that silver destabilizes bacterial cell membrane structure, making it more porous and allowing the silver to penetrate the bacteria and kill them from the inside. A 2010 study also found that colloidal silver can effectively kill bacteria strains like drug-resistant staph, Salmonella, E. coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Other natural remedies that may speed up wound healing and reduce the risk of cellulitis include Manuka honey and coconut oil. DuoDERM, a brand of hydrocolloid dressings,4 may also protect wound from bacteria and keep it moist to improve healing time. DuoDERM also helps reduce pain while providing a protective covering.
A Healthy Diet May Help You Avoid Cellulitis
Diet plays a significant factor in preventing cellulitis and other types of bacterial infection, as the foods you eat can greatly affect the state of your immune system. Here are some diet tips to help you avoid cellulitis:5
- Avoid consuming sugary foods, as they can slow down the natural wound healing process.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin C, which plays a crucial role in repairing tissue damage and reducing your risk of infections.
- Yellow, orange and green vegetables can help bolster your immune system.
- Consume foods rich in flavonoids, such as grapes, blueberries and citrus fruits. However, fruits should be consumed in moderation as they contain fructose.
- Drink adequate amounts of water through the day. This helps in flushing out harmful toxins and organisms from the body that cause infections like cellulitis.
Lastly, remember that if you suffer from poor circulation, diabetes or are immunocompromised, you have a higher risk of getting cellulitis. Make sure you take extra precautions to prevent skin injury and stay healthy.