Cellulitis not responding to antibiotics

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After 2 weeks on 500mg Flucloxacillin the cellulitus from an insect bite is still slowly spreading and itchy beyond belief. Angry red shiny skin sometimes turning purple, foot swelling with fluid if I put weight on my left leg, now slowly spreading up the rear of the calf and extending into the toes.

Managed to see a 'doctor' yesterday, and despite two confirmed diagnoses of cellulitis from other doctors. He said it was merely an inflammation ( isn't that cellulitis then? ), then decided it was scabies haha, despite not having any human contact since Covid-19 appeared and it doesn't remotely resemble a scabies rash or flea bites ( no animals in our house ) which was his next guess. He stated it can't be cellulitis as the antibiotics would have worked and I pointed out what if it is and I or the infection have a resistance to Flucloxacillin, he then relented and prescribed one week of 500mg Amoxicillin, which the chemist has now informed me is out of stock.

The thing is I'm worried things might turn nasty, eg; sepsis, MRSA if the cellulitis is left to it's own devices. Should I go to the Urgent Care Clinic at the hospital or bide my time?

Any advice welcomed thanks.

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    alex.. i was on KEFLEX and BACTRIM for my treatment. they need to give you 28 day. i had 3 bouts of antibiotics.. had i known i would have told doctor to give me that amount up front instead of starting with 7 days, then back for 14 days etci also on my own used original Dial soap cleansed wound twice a day (dont use same wash cloth each time) keep wound covered with steralized gauze and wrap with the self sticking tape its not actual tape but it clings together keep that wrapped and every single night i kept my leg raised on couch also i applied tea tree oil to my wound. you might want to ramp up your immune system with natural things like blueberries, centrum multi vitamin, keep legs lotioned with fragrance free natural lotion. DO NOT scratch under any circumstance. trim your finger nails in case you forget and you scratch. my leg took 8 months to completely turn back to normal, flat pink skin color, no more bump. worse experience ever..... but there is hope and you can beat this

  • Edited

    alex get to a&e no messing if your not happy and dont feel well its a must you said IT SEPSIS you may need iv antibiotics dont delay i had it the same one doc sent me home back 24 hours later for a fortnight on iv a/b JUST GO

    • Posted

      i totally agree i went to ER for cellulitis ... if SEPSIS go immediately to ER much more serious

  • Edited

    I am not a doctor or medical professional and can only relate my experiences.

    I have had Cellulitis and/or Erysipelas recurring every 12-18 months on my calf/shin since 2006/2007.

    What does it look like? Mine usually starts small and gradually develops over about a two week period to a brilliantly red infection that encompasses my leg below the knee and above the ankle. It is not consistently hot but does seem to go through phases where there is definitely an increased temperature in the inflamed area. After about the fourth week it has inflamed the area so much that the lymph fluid can't flow past that point anymore and edema develops so that one leg is 1 1/2 to 2 times as big around as the other, as if inflated. My wounds are typically not open as long as I do not bang my leg against something. Unfortunately most doctors don't take it serious until it looks really bad so I tend to wait as long as possible before seeking treatment.

    What caused it? I do not know but I did have a really bad tonsil infection which put me out of action for 3 days and later that year I was bitten by a tick, which caused some issues.

    What causes the recurrences? I do not know but I am relatively certain that it is not external as I am told every time I go to the doctor. Something bit me or I cut myself or something happened that allowed the infectious bacteria to penetrate the skin. Up until this year's event, nope.

    I have literally been to approximately 20 doctors in two countries (dermatologists, circulatory experts, infectious disease experts, general practitioners) and with one exception, none were able to successfully treat the symptoms with anything other than antibiotics. Unfortunately, I seem to have the version that requires a very expensive antibiotic which is in the Linezolid category. One trade name is Zyvox. Pay close attention if requesting this medication as it can be very expensive depending on where you get it (gotta love the pharmaceutical industry - always there for us). I tried to fill the prescription at Wahlgreens and they told me that it would cost $3500 (yes, no decimal error there) for 20 days. The pharmacist was however very nice and told me to contact my insurance and "negotiate", which I did. In the end I got the prescription from Costco for $66.00.

    My experience with the infection is that it comes in cycles, about 12 - 18 months and always hits one leg, on the calf or shin, never the one that had the infection the last time. In my case, up until this most recent incident, I never noticed any bites, cuts or other puncture of the skin which would allow any bacteria to penetrate as one is always told must have happened. I go the the doctor once I am sure that it isn't going away on its own (I've tried all types of homeopathic and natural treatments) and they typically prescribe me increasingly strong levels of antibiotics with a multitude of wonderful names, none of which have really worked. It was only after my last doctor prescribed Linezolid that I observed a timely reduction in the infection an eventual healing and return to what I considered to be a healthy leg.

    On this note keep in mind that each time you take antibiotics, they may become less effective the next time around. If you know what has worked for you in the past, tell your doctor. Don't waste your time with the weak stuff unless you know it will work.

    Besides the experience with Linezolid, one other thing that I have learned is the importance of keeping the lymphatic fluids flowing during and after these episodes. It is a critical element in the healing and remaining healthy process, particularly once your lymphatic system has been damaged in the affected area. You can go to a medical massage expert who knows about lymphatic drainage massage, as I did, and pay attention to what they tell you and how they do the massage. Provided the affected area is accessible, you can then do a lot for yourself. On the recommendation of my doctor I am also going to experiment with KT taping, which supports the flow of lymphatic fluid by keeping your skin taught so that it doesn't push against the muscle, etc underneath and stop the flow of lymphatic fluid.

    Avoid allowing the injured surface skin to dry out as this will just exacerbate the problem. Hydrate the skin with moisturizing cream. I use creams with 5-10% urea for this purpose (trade name Eucerin) and it works wonderfully. Try it, you'll see. I also use this when I do my own lymph drainage massage in the affected area. Dry skin will not heal as it is dead.

    Another experience that I have had is understanding that your body needs to be moving for things to work properly. If you have a sedentary job you need to do something to get moving. I like to walk as that is easiest for me but anything that gets the whole body moving for at least 30 minutes a few times as week has been beneficial for me.

    What else have I tried?

    Honey on the skin - seemed to stabilize but not improve the situation.

    My version of Bald's Salve, a medieval mixture of common substances which has been proven to be very antibacterial - didn't work well for me but I attribute it to not having prepared it properly.

    Desitin - intended for diaper rashes, etc and not really ideal in this case as hard to remove but it is water repellent.

    A regimen of all possible natural herbs that I though might help - didn't seem to help but more likely because they weren't making it to the place they were needed.

    A mix of honey, ginger and onions as a topical salve - same result as with honey alone.

    Based on my experiences:

    1. Find a good doctor who will prescribe the right dose of the most effective antibiotic to kill the infection.
    2. Understand that any medication you ingest affects the entire body, not just your infection. You will need to recover from antibiotic use, especially as regards your intestinal bacteria.
    3. Make sure that your lymphatic fluids are flowing, especially in the area of the infection.
    4. Understand your lymphatic system, how it works and what it is there for.
    5. Inform yourself about lymphatic drainage massage and look for the right service at the right price. Note that they may not do anything if the infection is active unless the doctor says it is ok.
    6. Cellulitis and Erysipelas appear to be very similar, they just look a little different. Try to understand both to understand what you need to do.
    7. You can treat yourself in large part but don't underestimate the value of an expert opinion. Just make sure that you are really talking to an expert and not just someone who is a doctor.

      I've been fighting with this illness for 14 years and hope to one day put it behind me. I hope that you can move forward and be successful in your own fight using the information above, which is based entirely on my own experiences.

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