According to the American Academy of Dermatology, treatment for cellulitis involves several components. The first step is to treat the infection through the use of antibiotics. If your doctor prescribes oral antibiotics, it is important to take the medication exactly as prescribed to fully eradicate the infection. In some severe cases, a cellulitis infection may require treatment with IV antibiotics. If your infection involves an open sore, your physician may also instruct you on properly treating the wound. When an underlying medical disorder has triggered an episode of cellulitis, your doctor will take steps to treat that condition as well.
Keeping the infected areas elevated and getting plenty of rest may also allow your body to recover more quickly. Rest triggers your brain to release hormones that promote tissue repair. During sleep, your body is also able to relax and focus on the processes that reduce inflammation and aid in healing. Furthermore, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medications to ease your discomfort. With proper antibiotics and rest, most patients recover from cellulitis within seven to 10 days of antibiotic treatment. Notify your doctor if you do not begin to feel better within three days of antibiotic use.
If you are at risk for cellulitis, you can take steps to protect yourself against an infection. Use a moisturizer to keep your skin protected against dryness and chapping. Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, long pants, and sturdy shoes when hiking or performing yard work. Protective clothing can help to prevent the scrapes and scratches that introduce infection. A pair of work gloves can protect your hands, as can household gloves for cleaning. If you have diabetes, inspect your skin regularly for cuts or abrasions. Take care when trimming toenails or fingernails to prevent accidental cuts or wounds.