The skin works as a diligent, protective barrier that protects us from external substances that can be harmful to our health. However, because the skin is porous and constantly comes into contact with the elements, it is susceptible to a variety of possible infections. Any skin infection that a person gets stems from one of four different possible causes:
As a result, the symptoms and associated treatments depend on which of the above factors is responsible for the skin infection.
While many different types of healthy bacteria live on the skin, at times, harmful bacteria can penetrate the pores and cause us to suffer from a bacterial skin infection. Depending on the type of bacteria, the skin infection can range from being mild and treatable to seriously life-threatening.
People susceptible to skin infections caused by bacteria include:
Because antibiotics are effective at killing harmful bacteria, they are one of the primary treatments used to fight bacterial skin infections.
Here is a look at some of the most common types of bacterial skin infections:
Like bacteria, healthy fungi live on the skin's surface, especially in the moister areas of the body. However, when harmful fungi penetrate the skin, it can cause fungal skin infections. In general, fungal infections tend to spread easily over the body: Just touching an affected area and then touching another part of the body can cause the skin infection to spread.
Common fungal skin infections include:
Like bacteria and fungi, some parasites live on the skin without causing us any health problems. Yet, the presence of harmful parasites can lead to the following parasitic skin infections:
The three main types of viruses that cause skin infections include the herpes simplex virus, the papillomavirus and the poxvirus. Because there is no cure for viruses, treatment for viral conditions focuses on relieving the symptoms. Common viral skin infections include:
University of Maryland Medical Center (n.d.). Dermatology: Skin Infections. Retrieved November 1, 2007 from the UMMC Web site: http://www.umm.edu/dermatology-info/infhub.htm.
information on health-related topics, not medical advice, diagnosis or
treatment recommendations. Please consult your physician if you have questions