Has your skin become tender and red? Do you also have a swollen and warm skin condition? If yes, then perhaps you are suffering from cellulitis.
Cellulitis is a very common skin disease, but if left untreated, it might be potentially fatal. Doctors generally advice antibiotics for treating cellulitis.
However, there are certain home remedies which can treat cellulitis. Want to know more about cellulitis and its home remedies? Then give this post a read!
What Is Cellulitis?
Cellulitis is a common bacterial skin infection which is primarily caused by bacteria streptococcus and staphylococcus. Sometimes cellulitis might even occur due to severe antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus aureus strain. Cellulitis may occur in any part of the body. However, it is more prevalent on the legs, especially in the ankles and shin areas.
In extreme conditions, cellulitis may result in blisters, fever, elevated heart rate, headache, chills and even low blood pressure. Cellulitis affects the lymphatic vessels. Under severe circumstances, lymphatic vessels become damaged permanently.
Usually surgical sites, cuts, puncture wounds; ulcers, athlete’s foot, and dermatitis are the major entry points of bacteria. On the other hand, spider and insect bites can also transport the bacteria into the body that causes infection.
What Are The Risk Factors In Cellulitis?
The human skin normally houses many types of bacteria. If there is a break in the skin these bacteria enter into the bloodstream, causing redness, tenderness and swelling of the skin. Given below are some of the risk factors of cellulitis.
- Wounds in the skin are one of the most common risk factors of cellulitis.
- Surgical sites, ulcers, and dermatitis are some of the other risk factors.
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications or the medications that influence the immune system.
- Ulcers due to lifestyle diseases such as diabetes or vascular diseases.
- History of any vascular diseases.
- Insect bites or stings, animal bites or human bites are some other risk factors of cellulite.
- Chronic edema, born infections and other existing skin infections like impetigo and athlete’s foot.
- Skin damage caused by radiation treatments.
- Other chronic skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema.
What Are The Common Indications Of Cellulitis?
Cellulitis in its initial stages may not be indicated clearly except for some redness, tenderness and swelling of the skin. As the condition progresses, the indications become more prominent, such as:
- Apart from the redness, tenderness and swelling, the skin becomes warm in the infected area.
- Cellulitis is typically associated with skin sore or a rash that occurs suddenly and develops very fast.
- Pain, fever and general illness.
- Once the infection increases, you might experience chills, fatigue, muscle aches and sweating.
- Under extreme conditions you’ll notice joint stiffness, swelling of the tissue over the joint, nausea and vomiting.
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What Are The Different Types Of Cellulitis?
1. Orbital Cellulitis:
In this type of cellulitis, the skin inside the socket of the eyes is usually affected. Any injury in the eyes or infections in the middle ear or face or teeth might be the cause of orbital cellulitis. It is treated as a medical emergency and requires hospitalization.
2. Facial Cellulitis:
It can affect people of all ages. The infection, when not treated properly may spread around the middle ear, upper respiratory tract and the lymphatic system.
3. Periorbital Cellulitis:
This type of cellulitis is more common in children and develops around the eyelids. The common symptoms of this type of cellulitis are redness inside the eye due to inflammation and fever.
4. Perianal Cellulitis:
In this type of cellulitis, the anal region is affected. It is quite common in children. Children with this type of cellulitis often complain about painful bowels, bloody stools, itching and tenderness in anal.
5. Breast Cellulitis:
This type of cellulitis affects the skin on breast. It is more prevalent in the women suffering from breast cancer or those who have a history of lumpectomy.
What Are The Various Treatment Options Available For Cellulitis?
Cellulitis is a kind of skin infection that definitely calls for medical attention. It is very necessary to adhere to doctor’s advice and take prescribed medications regularly. The treatment for cellulitis is primarily focused on its prevention. Since it is a bacterial infection, enough care should be taken, so that the bacteria do not enter inside the body through any open wound in the skin. This indicates that any open wound in the skin should be cleaned properly with a topical antibiotic. This will prevent the spread of bacteria and also hinders the occurrence of cellulitis.
The most common treatment for cellulitis is administration of antibiotics such as cephalexin along with over the counter pain reliever, and paracetamol, to get relief from associated fever and pain. For people having poor blood circulation such as in the case of diabetes or vascular disorders, more care is needed with regard to the skin. Regular use of moisturizer and prompt action against open wounds or sores by cleaning, bandaging and applying topical antibiotics are must.
Although antibiotics are an important means to treat common types of cellulitis, there are a number of home remedies and lifestyle changes that can be adopted to prevent its spread. These home remedies can also be considered an alternative treatment to improve the body’s immune system and maintain an overall healthy skin. Following are the home remedies for cellulitis!
1. Balanced Diet:
Diet plays an important role in treating cellulitis. It rather helps in preventing the infection spreading in the body by boosting up the body’s self-defence mechanism. The following points must be taken into consideration if you want to get rid of cellulitis.
Consume food rich in vitamin C and proteins that play an important role in repairing damaged tissues in the body. Vitamin C not only boosts immunity but also lowers the risk of developing various types of infections.Stay away from sweets and sugary foods that slow down the natural process of wound healing.Boost up the intake of yellow, orange, and green vegetables, which aid in enhancing immunity.Drink sufficient amounts of water throughout the day. This helps in cleansing out harmful toxins and organisms from the body that form the source of infections for cellulitis.Include foods loaded with flavonoids such as grapes, blueberries, citrus fruits, onions, and even red wine that are highly beneficial in combating bacterial infections.
2. Moderate Exercise:
Regular exercise such as a walking, cycling and swimming is excellent in keeping your skin healthy and free from any kind of infection.
3. Topical Applications:
Goldenseal root and slippery elm have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties. Mix equal quantities of both the powders with a small amount of water and make a fine paste. This paste can be applied evenly onto the infected area twice a day. This topical application can be a great help to treat cellulitis.
[ Read: Causes And Treatments For Thumb Pain ]
4. Tea Tree Oil:
It also has antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Tea tree oil is highly beneficial to treat cellulitis. Take a cotton swab and moisten it with two or three drops of water. Apply cotton swab on the infected area and leave it for a few hours. Now using another cotton swab apply about two-three drops of tea tree oil onto the affected area twice daily. The desired results would be seen within a few days.
5. Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil has lauric acid, which helps to fight against bacterial infections. It also aids in smoothening the redness and tenderness of the skin due to cellulitis. Apply coconut oil on the infected area and leave it for a few hours. You can apply coconut oil several times a day until there is some relief.
For ages turmeric is considered a natural antibiotic and antiseptic that prevents many skin disorders. The active ingredient in it, known as curcumin, provides anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric can be either applied topically or it can be consumed with milk and honey to clear bacterial infections. For topical application, take 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and add about three drops of tea tree oil and make a fine paste. Apply this paste on the affected area and leave it for about 20 minutes. Wash it with warm water.
Calendula is well known for its smoothening effects on skin. It can also fight infection and promotes blood flow to the affected area, thereby healing the skin wounds. You can either apply Calendula creams few times a day until you see some improvement. Alternatively, you may also add two teaspoons of calendula flowers in a cup of warm water and with the help of a cotton swab apply the solution to the infected area and leave it for about 20 minutes. Repeat this treatment at least 3 to 4 times daily, continuously for three weeks.
This is also a common natural antibiotic for fighting skin infections. An active compound called allicin has strong antimicrobial properties that help to reduce inflammation and bacterial infection. While applying topically crush garlic cloves on the infected area and leave it for a few minutes. Care is needed in people having sensitive skin. In case of any uneasiness, discontinue treatment. You can consume 3 to 4 crushed raw garlic cloves daily if you are not disturbed by its strong and pungent odor and taste.
This herb contains flavonoids with antimicrobial and antibiotic properties. Echinacea also has anti-allergic properties. It can be applied topically in the form of gel or cream to reduce skin irritation and inflammation. Otherwise , you can even take this herb internally with warm water.
10. Activated Charcoal:
Activated charcoal is quite famous for eliminating toxins and chemical impurities present in the body. Mix half a tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 1 tablespoon of activated charcoal powder with a few drops of water to make a fine paste. Do not apply this paste directly on the skin. Spread this paste on a paper towel and cover it with another paper towel. Now put this paper on the infected area and lock it with an antiseptic tape. Leave it overnight. If there are no adverse reactions, continue this treatment for a few days until you see some improvement.
Yarrow has been found very useful in treating various kinds of skin diseases. Organize a bath by adding together 100 grams of yarrow and 5 gallons of warm water. Immerse your body in this bath for about 15-20 minutes to alleviate inflammation and irritation due to cellulitis. This is an excellent home remedy for combating bacterial infection like cellulitis.
Fenugreek has ample amount of flavonoids that play an important role in fighting bacterial infections like cellulitis. Soak some seeds of fenugreek overnight. In the morning prepare a paste with some warm water. Apply this paste over the affected area and leave it for about half-an hour. If there is any kind of irritation, remove the paste with a cotton swab. The paste of fenugreek seeds is beneficial in fighting both the infection as well as the inflammation.
This herb is extracted out of the bark of a pine tree. This herb can also be bought from any herbal store. Take 200 mg of Pycnogenol added to a cup of warm water every day. Consumption of Pycnogenol promotes healthy and glowing skin. It fights away any kind of bacterial or fungal infections.
It is a readily available herb in almost all herbal stores. It has anti-bacterial properties that help in controlling bacterial growth. However, one needs to take precautions while consuming this herb. One should not consume its oil as it may be toxic, and also avoid taking it along with blood thinning drugs. You can consume 1 to 2 gm of Thyme per day in 3 or 4 doses. Continue this treatment for a few days or until the infection has subsided.
15. Gotu Kola:
You must have heard about this wonder herb. It is usually associated with skin infection treatment. In most of the herbal creams for bacterial infections, this herb is an active substance that aids in fighting the infectious bacteria. Consume 60 mg of the herb Gotu Kola twice a day. It has a stimulating effect on the skin. One must avoid gotu kola in case they have anxiety or a high blood pressure.
16. Frankincense Essential Oil:
Applying Frankincense essential oil gently over the affected area will relieve the pain, redness and swelling that occurs due to cellulitis. This oil can be applied three-four times a day regularly for about a month.
17. Vitamin D Supplements:
These are very necessary to keep the skin healthy and glowing. Vitamin D supplements help to fight from within thereby promoting the body’s natural immunity. A body with a strong immune system will prevent bacterial infections naturally. Hence, exposure to sunlight daily and consumption of food rich in vitamin D will aid in preventing cellulitis.
18. Oil Of Oregano:
Being nature’s antibiotic, oil of oregano is another effective home remedy for cellulitis treatment. It contains phenolic compounds like carvacrol and thymol with antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory qualities. A study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that the application of a 3 percent oregano extract ointment reduced bacterial contamination and subsequent infection in patients with post-surgical wounds.
19. Manuka Honey:
Manuka honey is grown in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the indigenous manuka bush. It is believed to treat wound infections and other conditions. Honey protects against damage caused by bacteria. Some types of honey also stimulate the production of special cells that can repair tissue damaged by infection.
In addition, honey has an anti-inflammatory action that can quickly reduce pain and inflammation once it is applied. It is rich in phytochemicals that are effective in controlling staph infections. The active compounds in this honey have also been found to inhibit antibiotic-resistant MRSA (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus). Spread manuka honey on the affected area. Leave it on for a few hours before washing it off. Repeat this treatment for a few days.
20. Ginkgo Biloba:
Ginkgo Biloba is a wonderful medicinal herb that improves blood circulation, stimulates the metabolism, and aids in the natural treatment for cellulitis. While this herb is generally well accepted, it should be used cautiously in people having clotting disorders or those who use medicines for thinning blood.
21. Sweet Clover:
It is a popular herb for treating skin conditions. The flowers and branching leaves are used for preparing this herb. Sweet clover has certain ingredients that have the ability to thin the blood and thus aid in healing wounds. Sweet clover is generally safe for most people. However, if you use sweet clover, get your liver tests done, more so if you have a liver disease or an existing liver damage. Consume 2-3 cups of sweet clover tea daily. A cup of sweet clover tea is made by adding 1-2 teaspoons of finely chopped sweet clover in about a cup of boiling water for 5-10 minutes and then straining it.
22. Indian Chestnut:
The oil extracted from the seeds is used for skin problems and diseases, and when the fruit is chopped and boiled in water, the water is used for washing the body. A current study has revealed that an extract of leaves, when picked fresh and then dried and ground to a powder, can help to control the body’s immune system and has the power to even evade cancerous cells. It is assumed that the flavonoids present in the leaves and seeds are proved to be effective for cancer. But more research still needs to be carried out, since the study quoted here was performed on lab animals. Being rich in polyphenolic and flavonoid antioxidants, chestnuts possess anti-bacterial, antiviral, anticancer and antioxidant properties.
The leaves of this tree contain high levels of two powerful antioxidants, vitamin C and luteolin. Antioxidants aid in preventing free radical damage to the body’s cells. Paste of dandelion is applied locally to the area, to remove skin impurities. It can be consumed orally as well as to purify the blood. Dandelion improves liver function and prevents internal toxicity.
24. White Birch:
They can be used as a healthy drink as it aids in the purification of the blood. An infusion of leaves and buds from the white birch also helps in combating bacterial infections. Take about 10 ml of this mixture along with warm water twice a day. Being a blood purifier, the tea, twigs and bark can be helpful for boils and sores when taken internally as well as used as a wash.
25. Rhizome And Roots Of Knee Holly:
Rhizome or Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory substance. Rhizome-Ginger has antioxidant properties as well, containing potent antioxidants including gingerol, curcumin and zingerone. A decoction can be prepared with rhizome and the roots of knee holly. This lotion can be used for local application and it will stimulate the tissues, supports venous circulation and reduce cellulites.
Given above were some of the suggested home remedies for treating cellulitis in a natural way. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, cellulitis is a skin condition that cannot be treated alone with home remedies and needs intervention of general medicines – mostly administration of antibiotics as prescribed by the doctors. However, the medical center does recommend that natural and home remedies can be helpful in preventing the spread of the infection depending on the properties of the substance used.
It is widely believed that cellulitis can be prevented by having a healthy lifestyle with more emphasis on personal hygiene. However, sometimes, even after following all the precautions one might still contract cellulitis. Therefore, do not rely on natural treatments and home remedies alone in regard to this condition. This infection can turn serious very quickly and standard antibiotics are very important indeed.
Do you know of any other alternative treatment for cellulitis? Share with us in the comments section below!
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