A breast infection, also known as mastitis, can afflict a woman at any time. But most commonly, it is associated with breastfeeding. A breast infection can be very painful and frustrating for the affected woman and hence immediate treatment is necessary.
The symptoms and the severity of the infection can vary. Some of the most common symptoms of a breast infection include swelling, redness, flu-like symptoms, hardness and moderate to severe pain.
Breast engorgement and inability to empty the breast after every feeding session are the most common causes of breast infection. When the nipple gets cracked, bacteria find their way into the breast through the cracks and cause infection.
There are several remedies available for treating a breast infection. These may include home remedies, herbal remedies, antibiotics and natural remedies. If you are suffering from a breast infection and want to get rid of it fast then here are some useful tips on treating a breast infection.
How To Treat a Breast Infection:
Step 1: Keep Your Breasts Clean
Keeping your breasts clean and germ-free after and before breastfeeding your baby is the first step towards treating your breast infection. You must take care to clean your hands, nipples and your baby’s mouth properly prior to breastfeeding.
Step 2: Use a Hot Compress
In order to treat a breast infection and prevent its occurrence, it is essential for you to remove any probable milk, which could plug a duct. Application of heat on your breast area can do this work efficiently. You can place a hot compress on the lump and then gently massage the lump.
You should repeat this procedure several times throughout the day. Other options for unclogging the milk duct may include things such as taking warm shower, placing a hot and moist towel, using a heating pad, using hot wet packs, etc.
Step 3: Take Adequate Rest and Sleep
In order to heal naturally, your body will require sufficient rest. Therefore, if you are suffering from a breast infection then you should rest as much as possible. Taking adequate sleep is also necessary for you to treat a breast infection.
Step 4: Stay Hydrated and Eat a Well-balanced Diet
Poor nutrition and dehydration will certainly reduce your milk flow and can also worsen the breast infection. Nursing mothers require 500 additional calories each day. Hence, you must try to consume a well-balanced diet. Consume at least 10 to 12 glasses of water every day to avoid dehydration.
Step 5: Continue to Breastfeed
Even if you experience discomfort and pain while breastfeeding due to the infection you must continue it as usual. This will help you in treating the infection fast.
You can opt to empty one of your breasts after every breastfeeding session. It will help you in preventing clogging of ducts. You can also use a breast pump for emptying your breasts.
Step 6: Use OTC Pain Relievers
You can also use OTC pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to minimize the discomfort caused due to a breast infection. Cephalexin and Dicloxacillin are the two most common antibiotics prescribed for treating a breast infection.
These drugs are safe for pregnant women. If you have been prescribed antibiotics then you should complete the course of treatment in order to avoid relapse of the infection.