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Skin Infection - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

 

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Infectious skin disease can be due to a variety of causes such as bacteria, viral illnesses, fungi, yeast, even skin parasites. Infections can arise as dry flaky circles that peel or the area may become itchy and red. Some bacteria invade normal skin or wounds (causing wound infection ). Skin infection can produce many symptoms ranging from moist, irritated patches to small pustules that look like pimples. Staphylococcus aureus ( S. aureus ) is the most important of these bacteria in human diseases. Bacteria, like viruses , may also sometimes result in exanthems (rashes). When the skin is punctured or broken, staph bacteria can enter the wound and cause infections, which can lead to other health problems. There is the always present danger of superinfection, once the skin has broken down, with bacteria complicating and prolonging what was supposed to be a swift recovery from a "skin sore". Trauma to the skin, such as a cut or scrape, seems to play a role in allowing bacteria that have been living harmlessly on the skin to establish a foothold and cause infection.

Skin is the largest organ that protects our inside world from the outside world. The carrier sites are usually the nostrils and fexures, where the bacteria may be found intermittently or every time they are looked for. S. aureus can also release toxins (poisons) that may lead to illnesses like food poisoning or toxic shock syndrome. Staph can pass from person to person the same way. So hand washing is the most important way to prevent staph infections. Staph infections in other parts of the body are less common than staph skin infections. They are more likely in people whose immune systems have been weakened by another disease. Staphylococcal aureus bacteria are classified as Gram-positive cocci based on their appearance under a microscope. The best way to resolve skin infections is to identify the original cause of the infection and treat it. There are more than 30 species in the staph family of bacteria, and they can cause different kinds of illnesses - for example, one kind of staph can cause urinary tract infections.

Causes of Skin Infection

The comman causes of Skin Infection include the following:

  • Staphylococcus aureus ( S. aureus or “staph”) has long been recognized as one of the most important bacteria that cause disease in humans. It is the leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections.
  • Usually this happens when people with skin infections share things like bed linens, towels, or clothing.
  • Exposure of traumatized skin to affected aqueous environments (fish tanks) is the leading predisposing factor.
  • People can get skin infections from contaminated objects, but bacteria often spread through skin-to-skin contact.
  • Hosts who are immunocompromised are also at increased risk.
  • Candida is the most frequent cause of yeast infections, which are extremely common.
  • Use of immunosuppressive or corticosteroid medications.
  • Fungal infections are caused by microscopic organisms (fungi) that can live on the skin.

Symptoms of Skin Infection

Some sign and symptoms related to Skin Infection are as follows:

  • Localized skin redness or inflammation that increases in size as the infection spreads.
  • Warmth over the area of redness.
  • Fever.
  • Muscle aches , pains (myalgias).
  • Need to urinate during the night (nocturia).
  • Chills, shaking.
  • Burning sensation or pain when urinating.
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (occasionally).
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Pain at the site of infection.
  • Joint stiffness caused by swelling of the tissue over the joint.
  • Tight, glossy, "stretched" appearance of the skin.

Treatment of Skin Infection

Here is list of methods for treating Skin Infection:

  • Removal of foreign bodies (eg. stitches) that may be a focus of persisting infection.
  • An antibiotic ointment, such as Polysporin, should be applied thinly four times daily. Polysporin can be purchased without a prescription.
  • Drainage of pus collections.
  • Topical antifungal medications may be used to treat infection of the skin; systemic antifungal medications may be necessary for folliculitis or nail infection.
  • Apply warm, moist compresses to the site to aid the body in fighting infection by increasing blood supply to the tissues.
  • Antibacterial soaps, topical (applied to a localized area of the skin) antibiotics, and systemic antibiotics may help to control infection.
  • Debridement is necessary when infection involves the tendon sheaths, causes persistent pain, or produces a discharging sinus.