What are skin infections?
Skin is the largest organ whose job is to protect your body from infections. Sometimes the skin also becomes infected. Skin infections are caused by a wide variety of germs, and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Mild infections can be treated with over-the-counter medications and home remedies, while other infections require medical help. Read on to learn more about skin infections and what to do if you have one.
Types of skin infections
1. Bacterial skin infections
Cellulitis is a common and serious bacterial skin infection. The affected skin appears swollen and red and is usually painful and warm to the touch.
Cellulite generally affects the skin on the lower legs, but it can also occur on the face, hands, and other areas. This occurs when cracks or breaks in the skin allow bacteria to enter.
Impetigo is a common and contagious skin infection. Bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes are the outer layers of the skin called the epidermis. The face, arms, and legs are the most affected.
A boil is a skin infection that begins in a hair follicle or an oil gland. First, the skin at the injection site becomes red and a pale lump develops. After four to six days, the pus will start to turn white as it collects under the skin.
Mycobacterium leprae causes leprosy. It is also known as Hansen’s disease, The disease mainly affects the skin, peripheral nerves, the mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes. Leprosy occurs in all ages, from infancy to old age. Curing leprosy and treating it early can prevent most disabilities.
2. Viral skin infections
Shingles (herpes zoster):
Shingle is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Although shingles occur anywhere on your body, most of the time it appears as a single line of blisters that envelop the left or right side of your torso.
Varicella-zoster virus causes Chickenpox. It causes itchy rashes with small fluid-filled blisters. Chickenpox is very contagious to people who are not infected or who have not been vaccinated against it. Today, a vaccine is available to protect children from chickenpox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the common vaccine.
Molluscum contagiosum virus is a skin infection caused by molluscum contagiosum. It produces a benign increase in lumps or lesions in the layers of the skin.
Small lumps are usually painless. They go away on their own and scars rarely form if left untreated. The duration of the virus varies from person to person, but tumours last from two months to four years.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause pimples to grow on the skin. Pimples have plagued humans for thousands of years – they were discovered in 3,000-year-old mummies and mentioned by Shakespeare. Although pimples are not usually dangerous, they are unsightly, irritating, and contagious. They are also painful.
Measles is caused by a virus from the paramyxovirus family and is usually transmitted by direct contact and through the air. The virus infects the lungs and then spreads throughout the body. Measles is a disease that is seen only in humans but not in animals.
3. Fungal skin infections
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that need not appear only in athletes. This annoying disease occurs in boys, girls, men, and women of all ages.
Yeast infections of the skin are called catarrhal yeast infections. The overgrowth of a virus named candida causes this infection. Yeast infections are not contagious.
Ringworm is a common fungal skin infection called ringworm. Ringworm usually affects the skin of the body (tinea corporis), the skin (tinea capitis), the feet (tinea pedis or athlete’s foot), or the groin (tinea cruise or cat itch).
Nail fungus begins as a white or yellow patch under the tip of the finger or toenail. It is a common condition. As the fungal infection deepens, the nail fungus will change the colour of the nail, causing it to thicken and break off at the edge. It affects many nails.
Oral candidiasis, also known as oral candidiasis, is a fungal / yeast infection of the genus Candida that develops on the mucous membranes of the mouth.
It is usually caused by a fungus called Candida albicans, but it can also be caused by Candida glabrate or Candida tropicalis.
Diaper rash, which appears as a patchwork is a common form of red skin (dermatitis) of bright red skin on the bottom of your baby.
Diaper rash is often related to infrequently changed or wet diapers, skin sensitivity, and stings. It usually affects children, although anyone who wears a diaper regularly can develop the condition.
Diaper rash alerts parents and harms children. But it usually goes away with simple home treatments like air drying, frequent diaper changes, and ointments.
4. Parasitic skin infection
Lice are small, wingless, parasitic insects that eat human blood. Lice are easily spread, especially by school-aged children, through close personal contact and the exchange of objects.
Bed bugs are small, oval, brown insects that live in the blood of animals or humans. Adult bed bugs have flat bodies the size of an apple seed. However, after being fed, their bodies swell up and turn red.
Itching is a skin disease caused by a mite called Sarcoptes scabies. If left untreated, these microscopic worms can live on your skin for months. They reproduce and get deeper into and cause infection. This can cause itchy, red rashes on the skin.
Cutaneous larva migraine:
Catanese larval migraine is a parasitic skin infection caused by hookworm larvae that commonly infect cats, dogs, and other animals. Humans can become infected with larvae by walking barefoot on sandy beaches or by coming into contact with moist, soft soil contaminated with animal faeces. Also known as a progressive rash once infected, the larvae migrate below the surface of the skin causing red itchy traces or streaks.
Symptoms of skin infections
If you think your skin is infected, look for these signs of skin infections:
- Pus or fluid coming out of the cut
- Red skin around the wound
- The red line that runs from the cut to your heart
- A pimple or yellow crust on top
- Sores that look like blisters
- The pain intensifies after a few days.
- Swelling that intensifies after a few days.
- The wound did not heal after 10 days.
It is very difficult to tell the difference between infection and eczema, especially in children. People with eczema often get skin diseases because breaks in the skin allow germs to enter. If eczema treatment doesn’t work, or the rash gets worse, it could be an infection.
Causes of skin infections
A small incision is needed to provide access to the microbes that invade your skin. Often the skin takes root in the infection. The cut is not as small as it was after you had the surgery. However, your skin is prone to infections when it breaks down in some way.
Skin infections are usually caused by one of three main causes: bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Yeasts and parasites can also cause them. Most of these are harmless to the surface of your skin and especially bacteria are abundant on human skin. But when they break into the skin, the trouble starts. Sometimes the skin does not need a break, and sometimes the microbial invader gains the upper hand because your immune system is weakened, or misled into attacking the wrong things. The causes of skin infections are complex.
Some people are at risk for skin infections:
- People with diabetes are less likely to have poor blood flow (especially in the hands and feet) and their blood sugar (glucose) is high, reducing their ability to fight infections.
- People who have been hospitalized or are living in a nursing home.
- People with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), AIDS or other immune disorders or hepatitis
- People receiving chemotherapy or treatment with other drugs that suppress the immune system.
- Inflamed or damaged skin is more likely to become infected. Any injury to the skin can expose a person to infection.
Diagnosis of skin infections
A variety of skin tests can be done to diagnose skin allergies, bacterial, viral, or fungal skin diseases, and other problems that can affect the skin. Skin tests are also performed to tell the difference between malignant (cancer) cells and benign (non-cancerous) growth.
The most common skin tests are:
- Patch test: Patch tests are used to diagnose skin allergies. Identified allergens (substances that cause allergies in a person) are applied with patches of skin on the back and left for a while. The skin is then tested for any reaction.
- Skin biopsy: Skin biopsies are performed to diagnose skin cancer or benign skin disorders. During a skin biopsy, the skin is removed (after local anaesthesia is applied) and taken to a laboratory for analysis. The skin can be removed with a scalpel, Gillette blue blade, or a cylindrical punch biopsy tool. Stitches can be used to close the wound.
- Culture: A culture that tests to identify the microorganisms (bacteria, fungus, or virus) that cause the infection. Skin (surface scrapings, biopsies, pus blisters, and blisters), hair, or nails are cultured to identify bacteria, fungi, or viruses.
Treatment for skin infections
Depending on the severity of the disease different treatments are suggested. Some types of viral skin infections can get better on their own in days or weeks.
Bacterial infections are often treated with topical antibiotics or oral antibiotics applied directly to the skin. If the stress from the bacteria is resistant to treatment, intravenous antibiotics given in the hospital are required to treat the infection.
You can use over-the-counter antifungal sprays and creams to treat fungal skin infections. If your skin infections do not improve, ask your doctor, prescription about topical or oral creams. Also, you can apply creams on your skin to treat parasitic skin diseases. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to reduce discomfort, such as anti-inflammatory drugs.
Skin infections can be prevented by the following :
- Manage your diabetes well: People with high glucose levels are less able to prevent dry skin and harmful bacteria. Both conditions increase the risk of infection.
- Keep the skin clean and dry.
- Avoid too hot baths and showers.
- Moisturizing soaps can help: Next, use a standard skin lotion, but don’t put lotions between your fingers. Excess moisture promotes fungal growth.
- Avoid dry skin: Dry or itchy skin is scraped open and allows an infection to form. Moisturize your skin to prevent itching, especially in cold or windy weather.
- Treat incisions immediately: The small incisions should be washed with soap and water. Use antibiotic cream or ointment only if your doctor says it’s okay. Cover small incisions with clean gauze. See a doctor right away if you have a large cut, burn, or infection.
- During cold and dry months, keep your home more humid. Bathe less in this environment if possible.
- Use mild shampoos.
- Do not use feminine hygiene sprays.
- See a dermatologist for skin infections if you cannot solve them yourself.
- Take good care of your feet: Check them daily for cuts and sores. Wear wide, flat shoes that fit well. Check your shoes before placing foreign objects.
- If you cannot solve the skin infections yourself, talk to your doctor or dermatologist (dermatologist).
- Your skin is the largest organ in your body.
- Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae.
- Shingle is a viral infection that causes a painful rash.