Skin Infections: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, with several functions, including covering and protecting your body from infection. However, sometimes the skin can get infected; this often happens when germs enter through a break, cut, or wound on your skin. You can also develop Sheepshead Bay skin infections when your immune system is weakened due to another disease or medical treatment. Mild infections that affect your epidermis and cover a small can be treated with home remedies and over-the-counter medications. However, conditions deep into your skin or affecting a larger area require medical attention.

What are the symptoms of skin infections?

The symptoms of skin infection vary between the different types. However, some symptoms are common to many skin infections, including rash and redness. Many skin infections are also associated with itching, pain, and tenderness. You need medical help if you have pus-filled blisters or an infection that worsens. If left untreated, skin infections can spread into the bloodstream, becoming life-threatening. A severe skin infection is associated with blisters, pus, sloughing, and necrotic-appearing skin.

What causes skin infections?

There are various causes of skin infections; some occur when bacteria enter your body through a break in the skin, such as a cut or scratch. Skin infections don’t always happen when you have a break in the skin, but cuts or scratches increase your risk if you have a weakened immune system. Your immune system may be weakened due to the side effects of medication or treatment or an illness.

Besides bacteria, skin infections can also be caused by viruses. The most common viral skin infections are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), poxvirus, and herpes virus.

Some skin infections, such as athlete’s foot and yeast infections, are caused by fungi. Your risk of developing a fungal infection depends on your body chemistry and lifestyle. For example, you are most likely to experience frequent bouts of the athlete’s foot if you sweat a lot or are a runner. This is because fungi thrive in warm and moist environments, such as sweaty shoes.

Parasites such as body lice, head lice, and scabies can also cause skin infections; these tiny insects or organisms burrow beneath your skin and lay eggs, causing a parasitic infection.

Who is at risk of skin infections?

Anyone can develop a bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitic infection. However, your risk is higher if you are older or have an immune system disease like HIV/AIDS. A weakened immune system due to treatments such as chemotherapy also elevates your risk of skin infections. Other risk factors for skin infections include poor circulation, diabetes, malnourishment, and excess skin folds due to obesity.

What is the treatment for skin infections?

Treatment depends on the cause of the infection and how severe it is. Some viral infections go away independently within days or weeks. As for bacterial infections, they most often improve with topical or oral antibiotics. Some bacteria strains are resistant to treatment and require intravenous administration of antibiotics.

If you have questions about skin infections, consult your specialist at kalon Dermatology. 

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