Skin infections can range from mildly annoying to severely painful. There are several different types of infections that can affect the skin. Symptoms of a skin infection may include redness, tenderness, itching, flaky skin, rashes, and blister-type eruptions.
Fungal infections are some of the most common skin infections. Yeast infections, athlete’s foot, and jock itch are all caused by a fungus. Ringworm is another fungal infection. These infections are most commonly treated with anti-fungal creams. Ringworm is treated by an ingested anti-fungal medicine. Treatments for the less serious infections are often available over the counter at drug or department stores.
Another type of infection is bacterial. People who have diabetes, a history of bad sunburns or other skin damage, or an immune system deficiency are at a great risk for these infections. Cellulitis, one type of bacterial infection, is most often caused by a strep or staph infection. Impetigo is also caused most commonly by a staph infection. Folliculitus, boils, and carbuncles, all caused by infections at the root of a hair follicle, are other types of bacterial infections. Bacterial infections are treated by antibiotics, if necessary.
Viral infections are also fairly common. These include herpes, shingles, warts, and cold sores. These infections are treatable, but not all curable. Shingles, herpes, and cold sores are all characterized by outbreaks of small puss-filled blisters or crusted sores on the skin. There are over sixty varieties of warts, and most are caused by papillomavirus. They can be removed by a doctor, or treated with an over the counter product.
Skin infections can also be caused by parasites. Parasites are normally small worms or insects that burrow into the skin, and work their way through part of the body. Almost everyone has at least one variety of parasites living inside them. Hookworms, normally picked up from dogs or cats, can cause creeping eruption. Scabies, caused by small mites, can be spread person to person. Scabies presents with small red bumps where the mites have laid eggs. Lice are another parasitic skin infection. Lice are small, jumping bugs that live in hair. They are easily spread, usually from child to child. Parasitic infections are usually treated with topical creams and prescribed medications. Lice are usually treated with special shampoos that kill both lice and their eggs.
Skin infections are often contagious. Most require medical treatment. If you are in doubt as to whether or not you have an infection, contact your doctor or a dermatologist. Either one can accurately diagnose a skin condition and prescribe a treatment plan.