Cellulitis: Ive had cellulitis 3 times since the 7th... - LSN

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Ive had cellulitis 3 times since the 7th September. Cant take much more. Any advice would be gratefully accepted.

p.s. I am a newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic as well as having lympoedema

12 Replies

Hi, you have my sympathy, I know exactly how you feel over the cellulitis, it makes your life so miserable. I had the same problem with cellulitis in 2014, the GP and consultant weren't taking it seriously and I was at the end of my tether. It was the worst spell in the whole cancer/lymphoedema journey. I was fortunate in that I had support from a lymphoedema physio and with her help we managed to get me onto prophylactic antibiotics. I ended up shoving the guidance about treatment of recurrent cellulitis under the GP's nose. They have made such a difference to my life, no more full blown cellulitis attacks, although it does appear to "grumble" under the surface at times. All being well I should stop them at the end of this year, though I rather suspect it may resurface. Do you have a supportive GP or other health professional?

in reply to Swallow17

Hello Jane. I would be very interested to hear what you describe as 'grumble' ? I too am fortunate in that my physio is more informed than any other professional I have met and has also given me information to pass on to my GP....she is worth her weight in gold. Which area do you live? I also think that sometimes there may be a grumbling episode but hard to explain to anyone.


in reply to Hillee

Hi Kathryn, I don't know what I'd do without my lymphoedema physio and I realise I'm very fortunate to have such a supportive professional. I live in Central Scotland. Where are you? By "grumble" I mean that I don't have the typical symptom of redness. A full blown episode for me starts with severe pain and a feeling of something not being right and before prophylactic antibiotics I used to end up with redness at which point they treat you. One of my grumbling episodes this year started with severe pain in my hand, followed by impressive swelling and swollen lymph nodes and feeling under the weather. The physio agrees with my assessment of grumbling and reckons my body is managing to fight it off and to let it do so if possible. It does have an impact on daily life and work though. It's usually one of these tiny breaks in the skin that can get overlooked for a time that is the trigger. I'm both looking forward to and dreading stopping the antibiotics at the end of the year.

in reply to Swallow17

Hi Jane

I live in Manchester and my particular praise is for the physio at Salford Royal who is amazing. I really think you have to become your own expert as knowledge appears thin on the ground. I do so believe with the 'grumbling' and feel that my body is trying to fight off an infection which is tiring but hopefully less reliance on antibiotics but I always have an emergency supply close at hand and definitely on holiday. I think my last bout was caused by a small Nick after a manicure. I am not convinced that there is always a rash but I know that the skin is the first line of defence so I am extra vigilant. Good luck Jane....would be good if there were more of these amazing physios.


in reply to Hillee

Hi Kathryn

I agree, you certainly need to be your own expert. Getting GPs to take you seriously is difficult. We are both so fortunate to have good physios. It is so often dismissed as not important. My first encounter with a physio was one who told me I shouldn't get upset about lymphoedema or infections since I was lucky my cancer was being treated. That just about tops my list of insensitive comments. It's good to know I'm not the only one who suffers from grumbling cellulitis and doesn't always get a rash. Good luck to you too. Xx

That's a bummer. I had it twice within a month earlier this year. Do you know where the infection is getting in? In my case I had the first instance was probably due to althetes foot and the second one due to the treatment I applied to get rid of the althetes foot. I agree with Janet about making sure your doctor is aware of the guidelines. I have attached a link to them. You must also said ensure you complete the course of antibiotics, if you don't the danger is you'll just be selecting more resistant bacteria which will make it harder to get rid of the next infection harder. lymphoedema.org/Menu3/Cellu...

Reading your post makes me very angry - because the NHS is just ignoring us, and hoping eventually we will give up and go away.

At time I didn't realise having to pay to get this treated privately was a blessing. Woke up one morning to find Mother had died, and I had Cellulitis. Immediate action needed, so I rushed to private hospital A & E, where I was treated immediately, tests done, sensible advice and some antibiotics (£100) prescribed. During next few weeks dealt with funeral, and at end realised that problem had disappeared.

Don't know if private care was responsible, or if I was lucky, or what - but makes you think.

Good luck with your treatment and I wish you the best - it's an uphill struggle.

Hi, I can relate to that feeling of helplessness. Been there this last year, but thanks to a fantastic team of District Nurses, my attitude to life has become so much more positive.

My Cellulitis normally started with blisters on my lower legs, full of Lymph fluid. The normal procedure is, of course, to try and not break the skin, treat it by covering etc. I ended up with a blister, on one leg, that was approximately 6 cm across! When this popped, the infection set in, and a large area like that proved difficult to heal. I had Cellulitis for almost 5 months, no sooner had one infection cleared than another would start..... so I can sympathise with your feelings of just not being able to take any more.

After spending almost a month in hospital, even though the Cellulitis had thankfully gone, I felt dreadful, very depressed and dreading the next ''episode''. That's where ''my'' nurses came to the rescue! Having someone who understands how you feel, as well as understanding Lympoedema and the risks involved, is such a blessing. The head of my team [ who I will call J ] did not know an awful lot about Lympoedema to start with, but made it her business to read up and research. Together, we have really moved on from those dark days, and I couldn't be more grateful to the District Nursing team.

The most important single factor in preventing Cellulitis is keeping the skin clean and supple. When bathing, I find the most gentle soap is Femfresh!! Strange - but as it is so gentle and has a low PH, it cleans the skin without causing irritation. Make sure you rinse your skin well. Pat dry - no rubbing, and then use Dermol Cream. This cream can also be used as a soap substitute - just follow directions. I use Dermol at least 4 times a day! Early morning after washing, before putting on my ''wraps'', when I take the wraps off and at night again. As this cream is ''antimicrobial'' it really helps protect the skin. Talk to your doctor, as this cream is available on prescription. I also use other creams, trying to keep the skin as moist and supple as possible. Apparently the moment your skin is dry, or maybe even cracked, this is when infection can take hold.

I am also on a low dose of antibiotics - and this will be life-long. Horrible thought that I will always be on antibiotics, but rather that than Cellulitis!

Thanks to Nurse J, who managed to get me help with the treatment and control of Lympoedema, I have both legs and feet wrapped in special control garments and bandages every day. This helps with the flow of Lymph fluid, so I have not had any recurrence of the blisters or wounds appearing on legs or feet.

Sorry if this has been so long! I felt I needed to explain where I am now in my treatment, as opposed to a year ago , when I felt down and depressed. There IS hope, and people out there who will help. Try and get a relationship going with either your doctor, or a practice nurse maybe? I have the District nurses, as I cannot leave home due to crippling arthritis as well.

Good luck and I really hope things improve for you.......very soon.


If you have had cellulitis 3 times in 4 weeks, it was obviously not cured in between. The first time I had it, it was really bad and had to be hospitalised to have intravenous antibiotics which get into the system quicker than tablets.

After that, as soon as I saw redness on my arm I saw my GP immediately as this can be life threatening and was put on Amoxycillin. Because I then had 2 bouts within 6 months, I was put on low dose antibiotics for life. Since then , I have had one bout but nipoed it in the bud straightaway with Amoxicillin which I have at home in case. I have to take them for 2 weeks. In case that doesn't work I also have the stronger Flucloxicillin available at home which I have never had to take. I still have to speak to the GP about it but, at least I can start taking them without any delay. I haven't had a bout now for a few years

You do need to moisturize well and my GP prescribes Dermol soapless soap to use for washing skin.

I guess having diabetes makes curing the infection more difficult but I hope you get sorted soon. Do you have a lymphoedema nurse you can speak to? Or speak to the lymphoedema support network - Andy13 has posted the website. Hope you recover soon x

I know it drags you down but keep your spirits up it really gets to a point where you feel depressed and you can see no end to it. I have had it two times in three weeks and said to my husband I hope don't keep reoccurring I was down because all I did was sit as my mobility was crap doctors have no idea how it affects it's a shame they do not get it then they would know one docter said that you can get secondary infection which means it has not cleared with a single course of antibiotics and they have to keep you on tablets for longer and possibly higher dose . All I can suggest keep going to doctors for more tablets and think of every day one closer to getting better that's what kept me going . Also if it hasn't started to look and feel better after 5 days on tablets go back to doctors for more before you run out because if it hasn't cleared up properly it wiil come back keep your sprits up love wendy

Do go to yhe Lymphoedema Support Network and print off their guidelines for management of cellulitis in lymphoedema patients - and give your GP a copy, asking him to put you on the appropriate antibiotic long term. It really works as a prophylactic (preventer) and keeps potential infections in check. All the other advice in the replies you have had is good too, especially the keeping skin clean (but avoid normal soaps) and moisturised. All the very best!

Hi Jaws, i was put on antibiotics 2x a day as a preventative measure. I was getting a lot of infections. I also have a second antibiotic that as soon as i feel the infection coming i take along with my other ones, this has helped a lot.

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