Overview of Common Skin InfectionsSkin infections come from various sources and have different symptoms, causes, and treatments. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common skin infections:
- Cellulitis: This common bacterial skin infection causes swelling and redness. It often affects the skin on the lower legs but can occur anywhere. Symptoms include redness, swelling, pain, and warmth. It’s usually caused by bacteria entering a wound or a break in the skin.
- Impetigo: Impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection that often affects infants and children. It’s caused by streptococcus (strep) or staphylococcus (staph) bacteria, leading to red sores that can rupture, ooze, and develop a yellow-brown crust.
- MRSA: This is a type of bacterial infection that’s resistant to many antibiotics. It’s caused by staph bacteria that are resistant to commonly used antibiotics. Skin infections are the most common type of MRSA infection. Symptoms can include boils or pimples, redness, swelling, and pain.
- Folliculitis: Inflammation or infection of one or more hair follicles can lead to folliculitis. The condition often shows up as small, white-headed pimples around hair follicles. Causes include bacterial or fungal infections, ingrown hairs, or blocked follicles.
- Boils: Red, painful lumps that develop in hair follicles or oil glands might be boils. A staph infection causes them, and symptoms can include significant, painful swelling, red or swollen skin around the lump, and the development of pus in the node.
General Hygiene PracticesMaintaining good hygiene is one of the most effective ways to prevent skin infections. Regular and thorough hand washing with warm water and soap is a simple but powerful tool to keep harmful bacteria at bay. You should not share personal items like towels, razors, and other hygiene items in direct contact with the skin. This reduces the risk of transmitting skin microbes from one person to another.
Care for Cuts and BruisesWhen it comes to skin health, even minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises should always be dealt with promptly and adequately. Injuries to the skin are gateways for bacteria and other pathogens, that can lead to infections. Keep wounds clean and covered until they’re completely healed.
Preventing Fungal InfectionsFungal skin infections, such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and yeast infections, are common and can affect various body parts. These infections thrive in warm, moist environments, making certain areas of your body more prone to them. Here are some strategies to prevent fungal infections:
- Keep Your Skin Dry and Clean: Fungi love warm, moist environments, so keeping your skin as clean and dry as possible is essential. After washing or sweating, thoroughly dry yourself, especially in areas such as armpits, groin, and feet. If these areas get sweaty, consider using talcum powder to help keep them dry.
- Use Antifungal Products: If you’re prone to getting fungal infections, consider using over-the-counter antifungal powders or creams. Apply these products to areas most likely to get infected, such as your feet, groin, or underarms.
- Wear Breathable Clothing and Footwear: Non-breathable, tight clothing and footwear can trap moisture and create a favorable environment for fungi. Choose breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics and footwear to help keep your skin dry.