Pharmacy First Scotland: Cellulitis treatment from your local pharmacy
Adults 18 years and over with symptoms of cellulitis can get advice and treatment directly from a pharmacy in certain instances. This includes cases where cellulitis is linked to an insect bites on the arms or body. If the pharmacist cannot treat you they may recommend you see your GP.
If you’ve had cellulitis before, you’re more likely to get it again.
It’s not always possible to prevent it, but the following measures may help reduce your risk:
use moisturiser if your skin is dry or prone to cracking
lose weightif you’re overweight – being obesecan increase your risk of cellulitis
try to ensure any conditions that can increase your risk of cellulitis – such as eczema, athlete’s foot, leg ulcers and lymphoedema – are well managed
make sure any cuts, grazes or bites are kept clean – wash them under running tap water and cover them with a plaster or dressing
wash your hands regularly – particularly when treating or touching a wound or skin condition
If you get cellulitis often or severely, your GP may refer you to a skin specialist called a dermatologist, or an infection specialist, to discuss the option of taking antibiotics on a long-term basis to protect against further infections.
Symptoms of cellulitis
Symptoms of cellulitis develop suddenly and can get worse quickly. It affects the skin and can also cause additional symptoms.
Cellulitis causes the affected skin to become:
There may also be a break in the skin, although this isn’t always obvious, and pus or blood-filled blisters.
Any part of the body can be affected.
Commonly affected areas include the lower legs, feet, arms or hands, and sometimes the face, particularly around the eyes.
See your GP or visit your nearest minor injuries unit as soon as possible if an area of your skin suddenly turns red, painful and hot.
Cellulitis can also cause additional symptoms that may develop before or alongside the changes to your skin.
These can include:
feeling generally unwell
Occasionally the infection can spread to other parts of the body, such as the deeper layers of tissue, blood, muscle and bone. This can be very serious and potentially life threatening.
Signs the infection has spread include:
a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above