Cellulitis is responsible for thousands of potentially preventable hospital admissions every year but most people are unaware of the condition until they, or a family member or friend, have been diagnosed with it.
Cellulitis is a painful bacterial infection of the skin and tissues just under the skin and while anyone can develop cellulitis, you are more at risk of you smoke, have diabetes or poor circulation.
The only treatment is antibiotics, and the condition is responsible for about 10 per cent of all preventable hospital admissions in Australia.
Ballarat Health Services is collaborating with Wimmera Health Care Group and Colac Area Health to increase awareness and improvement the management of cellulitis to try to avoid the infection developing to the point where patients need hospital treatment.
"Through the new leaflet, we hope to reinforce the importance of preventing dry skin, and checking regularly for conditions such as tinea. Reducing other risk factors such as obesity and controlling diabetes is also important."Dr Raquel Cowan
"Cellulitis really impacts the patient's wellbeing and they can feel very unwell with it," said BHS infectious diseases physician Dr Raquel Cowan.
"There is often a lot of pain, redness and swelling and although antibiotics get on top of the infection quickly, it can take weeks for these things to improve."
The collaboration, known as the CELLLIT project, has created a Cellulitis Plan for health professionals to help diagnose, manage and review patients with cellulitis, and a leaflet for patients containing advice on how to manage cellulitis and strategies to prevent it recurring.
"The Patient Information leaflet is a great resource to help the patients understand cellulitis and what they can do to help it get better. It also highlights ways that they can reduce the risk of cellulitis reoccurring," Dr Cowan said.
"Through the new leaflet, we hope to reinforce the importance of preventing dry skin, and checking regularly for conditions such as tinea. Reducing other risk factors such as obesity and controlling diabetes is also important."
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.