Your skin is your largest organ, making it all the more important that you take good care of it. Unusual bumps and rashes can be scary and hard to decipher. If not properly treated, they may lead to serious complications. Skin infections range from mild to severe and require different levels of medical care. Let’s review the four most common types of skin infections as well as tips for both prevention and treatment.
Four Types of Skin Infections
Bacterial skin infections
Bacterial skin infections occur when bacteria enters through the follicles of the skin or an open wound. Common types of bacterial infections include cellulitis, impetigo, leprosy, and boils. Many types of these bacterial infections are caused by a staph infection or strep throat. Bacterial skin infections often begin as small red bumps that increase in size. Treatment for this type of infection includes topical or oral antibiotics.
Viral skin infections
Viral skin infections are caused by a virus. Common types of infections include shingles, chickenpox, measles, and hand, foot and mouth disease. Many viral infections are contagious, meaning others can become infected through skin-to-skin contact. Treatments for viral skin infections may include antivirals; your doctor may also suggest simply waiting for the infection to subside.
Parasitic skin infection
Parasitic skin infections are caused by a parasite that burrows underneath the skin and lays eggs. These parasites can also spread beyond the skin and affect other parts of the body. Common types of parasitic infections include lice, scabies, and bedbugs. Topical medications will get rid of most parasitic skin infections.
Fungal skin infections
These types of infections are caused by fungus and most commonly affect damp areas like your feet, armpits, and tmouth. Types of fungal skin infections include ringworm, athlete’s foot, diaper rash, oral thrush, and yeast infection. An antifungal topical cream is the typical course of action for this type of infection.
How to Prevent Skin Infections
One of the best ways to prevent skin infections is to practice a consistent hygiene routine that includes washing your hands and bathing often. If you have an open wound, in order to prevent a skin infection, carefully clean the spot and apply an antibacterial gel before covering it with a bandaid. Additionally, do not share items such as razors, towels, and bar soap with others. Always wear shoes around pools and at the gym, and avoid tight-fitting clothing while working out.
I Think I Have a Skin Infection – What Now?
A skin infection may look like a sore, discolored pimple, an open wound with fluid leaking out, or bumps on the skin. You may experience itching or other side effects without treatment. Remember that prolonging a diagnosis can lead to longer discomfort as well as the risk of more serious health conditions.
If you believe you have a skin infection, seek professional help. Call your primary care physician and make an appointment as soon as possible.