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Skin Infection: Everything You Need To Know

Medically reviewed by Martha Juco, MD · Aesthetics

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Dec 12, 2022

    Skin Infection: Everything You Need To Know

    There are several ways to reduce the chances of developing a skin infection. Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways. Skin infections can vary from mild to severe. Make an appointment with your doctor if you have a skin condition that’s causing discomfort. Your doctor will be able to provide the necessary treatment for recovery.

    What is a skin infection? 

    It’s important for you to understand what an infection is before you learn about the things that might put a person at higher risk of getting one. An infection occurs when germs enter a person’s body and multiply, causing illness, organ and tissue damage, or disease.

    It’s also important for you to know that an infection can lead to a potentially life-threatening complication called sepsis. It’s very important to call your doctor immediately if you get an infection or develop any other signs or symptoms of an infection.

    Some common germs and infections include the following:

    • Bacteria: Very small microorganisms. Some types of bacteria enter the human body from the air, water, soil, or food. Common bacterial infections include pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear infections.
    • Virus: A very simple microorganism that may cause illness or disease. Viral infections are passed on from other people. Common viral infections include the common cold, herpes, and flu.

    Your immune system helps your body protect against these germs.

    Kinds of skin infection

    There are four different forms of skin infections, including bacterial, viral, fungal, and the following:

    Skin diseases caused by bacteria

    Some bacterial infections are mild and easily treated with topical medicines. Other infections may necessitate an oral antibiotic. There are several distinct forms of bacterial skin infections, some of which include:

    • Cellulitis: Cellulitis is a common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection. The affected skin is swollen and inflamed and is typically painful and warm to the touch.
    • Impetigo: Impetigo is more common in areas with hot, humid summers and mild winters (subtropics), or wet and dry seasons (tropics), but it can occur anywhere.
    • Boils: A boil is a painful, pus-filled bump that forms under your skin when bacteria infect and inflame one or more of your hair follicles. A carbuncle is a cluster of boils that form a connected area of infection under the skin.
    • Hansen’s illness (leprosy): Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) is an infection caused by slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae. It can affect the nerves, skin, eyes, and lining of the nose (nasal mucosa). With early diagnosis and treatment, the disease can be cured.

    Skin viral infections

    Viral skin infections are caused by a virus. These infections range from mild to severe, different types of viral infections include:

    • Shingles (herpes zoster)
    • Chickenpox
    • Warts
    • Mumps
    • Hand, foot, and mouth disease

    Skin fungal infections

    Some fungal infections are not contagious, and these infections are normally not life-threatening. These sorts of skin infections are caused by a fungus and are more likely to occur in wet parts of the body, such as the feet or armpits.

    A variety of fungus infections

  • Athlete’s foot
  • Yeast infection
  • Ringworm
  • Fungal nails
  • Oral candida
  • Skin parasite infection

    These parasitic skin diseases can move from the skin to the circulation and internal organs. However they are not life-threatening. These illnesses are brought on by parasites.

    Among the several parasite skin infections are:

    • Lice: Lice infestation is a parasitic skin infestation caused by tiny wingless insects. Lice spread most frequently through close person-to-person contact. People with lice usually have severe itching.
    • Bedbugs: Bedbugs hide in the cracks and crevices of mattresses and in bed frames, cushions, and walls. People may see bedbug feces or blood on bed linens or behind wallpaper. 
    • Migrans cutaneous larva: This infectious syndrome is caused by multiple types of hookworms. This is most commonly transmitted by animal feces depositing eggs in the soil, with larvae entering humans through direct contact with skin.

    What are the signs of skin infection? 

    Redness of the skin and a rash are common symptoms, but you may also feel other signs like itchiness, soreness, and tenderness. The symptoms of a skin infection might vary depending on the type.

    Consult a physician if you have pus-filled blisters or a skin infection that doesn’t go away. If it worsens, consult a doctor as skin infections have the potential to enter the bloodstream and become life-threatening.

    Serious infection symptoms include:

  • Pus: After the initial discharge of a bit of pus and blood, your wound should be clear.
  • Blisters: Blood blisters may look red or black and are filled with blood instead of clear fluid. An infected blister can be hot and filled with green or yellow pus. The surrounding skin may look red, but this can be hard to see on darker skin tones.
  • Skin that seems black, necrotic, or that turns discolored and hurts
  • How are infections of the skin treated?

    There are several ways to treat viruses. Treatment depends on the cause of the infection and the severity. Some types of viral skin infections may improve on their own within days or weeks. Infections caused by bacteria are typically treated with antibiotics, though some bacteria may have developed resistance to drugs and are harder to kill.

    If the bacterium strain is resistant to treatment, treating the infection may require intravenous antibiotics provided in a hospital. Bacterial infections are frequently treated with topical antibiotics applied directly to the skin or with oral antibiotics.

    You can treat a fungal skin infection with over-the-counter antifungal sprays and creams. If your condition doesn’t get better, talk to your doctor about prescription oral or topical creams. You can also apply medicated creams to your skin to treat parasitic skin infections. Your doctor may also suggest taking painkillers like anti-inflammatory drugs.

    Key Takeaways

    Skin infections are a common childhood condition. Bacteria, fungus, viruses, and yeast can all cause skin infections. Treatment will depend on the cause of the skin infection and severity. Discuss with your doctor the best treatment plan for your skin condition. 

    Learn more about Skin Infections here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Martha Juco, MD


    Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Dec 12, 2022

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