What is a Skin Infection?
A reaction that your skin produces due to bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitic contact is a skin infection. Skin infections can affect your body in several different ways, and some are more serious than others. There are four major types of skin infections:
- Bacterial skin infections – such as cellulitis, leprosy, impetigo, and boils.
- Viral skin infections – examples include chickenpox, shingles, measles, warts, hand disease, foot disease, and mouth disease.
- Fungal infections – such as ringworm, oral thrush, nail fungus, diaper rash, athletes foot, and oral thrush.
- Parasitic skin infections – like scabies and effects of bites from insects such as bedbugs and lice.
Skin Infection Symptoms
The most common skin infection symptoms are redness, tenderness, itching, pain, and swelling, depending on the type of infection. You may notice a bad odor, pus, skin discoloration, and sloughing in other severe cases. Dermatologists recommend not pricking or pressing areas displaying these signs as it often causes further spread. When these symptoms begin showing, visit our board-certified dermatologists at Arlington Dermatology. Ignoring signs of infection could result in fevers, severe illness, or death in the worst-case scenario.
Causes of Skin Infections
Bacterial skin infections are caused by the entry of bacteria into the skin, which normally occurs through an open wound or cut. People with immune deficiencies are more prone to contracting bacterial infections compared to normal healthy people. Viral infections are caused by the introduction of certain viruses into the skin or body. These viruses include the pox virus, herpes virus, and papillomavirus. Fungal skin infections are highly associated with body chemistry. Finally, parasitic skin infections enter your body when a living parasite gets into contact with your body.
Skin Infection Treatment
The type of skin infection will determine the best course of action to eliminate it from the body. For example, parasitic skin infections usually come and go on their own. When they don’t, dermatologists may recommend certain drugs or physical removal of the parasite if possible. Bacterial infections are equally manageable using appropriate antibiotics. Likewise fungal infections can be managed with the help of strong antifungal medication.
When to Visit the Doctor
You can see a dermatologist at the first sign of a potential skin infection. If it itches, becomes red, and possibly swells, you don’t need to waste any time trying to find out if it will subside on its own. Always see the doctor when you notice alarming changes on your skin due to a skin infection. The truth is – skin infections are more common than people like to admit – but this does not mean that they are any less threatening. Ignoring the signs and symptoms of your skin infection could result in spread to other people and progression to more severe symptoms.
Dermatologists in Arlington, VA
If you’re concerned that you may have a skin infection or other skin condition, our dermatologists, Dr. Ellinor Coyne and Dr. Matthew Livingood are here to help. During a consultation, they will examine the affected area, make detailed records, and offer a simple, individualized treatment plan for you. Get in touch by calling our office or contacting us online today.