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Bacterial Skin Infection

The skin is the largest organ on human body which protects them from the invading microorganisms and other environmental hazards as well. There are several microorganisms which form natural flora of the skin. One can find millions of bacteria residing on a square inch of the skin. These don’t cause infections because skin does not let them enter the tissues and prevents them from releasing harmful toxic substances. However, if the bacteria enter the skin through the burn, minor injury or cut, it can result in skin infections. Read through the below lines to know more about bacterial skin infections.

Types of Bacterial Skin Infections:
Two bacteria mainly cause skin infections – Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. These try to form the normal skin flora. They enter the body through minor cuts, burns, scrapes and punctures. Certain health conditions such as AIDS, diabetes, skin damage due to sunburn or scratching and autoimmune diseases make a person more susceptible to skin infections. Following are the signs and symptoms of different bacterial skin infections.

Cellulitis:
Cellulitis occurs on the legs, arms and face. This infection is caused by various species of Streptococcus bacteria. These enter the body through wound or broken skin. Mostly, it is caused by human bites, water injuries and animal bites. The symptoms of this infection are as follows:

  • Red streaks develop from the original cellulitis site
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Warm skin
  • Tenderness
  • Fever
  • Blister formation
  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Swelling of the skin

For treating cellulitis, the physician may prescribe oral antibiotics for 10 days. When the infection spreads rapidly or develops in people with weak immune system, they are suggested to use intravenous antibiotics.

Impetigo:
Impetigo is caused by streptococcus bacteria. In this infection, a group of lesions along with red base appears on the skin. These form a crust with brownish, honey color. This is a highly contagious infection which spreads easily. These lesions can be of different shape and size. One can also suffer from swollen lymph nodes. Application of topical antibiotics, usage of oral antibiotics, taking bath with antibacterial soap and preventing scratching can help in treating impetigo rash.

Scarlet fever:
This is a common infectious skin rash in children. It is also referred to as scarlatina. It is caused by streptococcus bacteria. This skin rash appears like the sandpaper and has many tiny red bumps. In this infection, bacteria release toxins into the blood stream resulting in skin rash. This skin rash appears on chest, cheeks, forehead and neck. Also, it may spread to back and arms. Other symptoms of scarlet fever are:

  • Strawberry like tongue
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Stomach ache
  • Sore throat
  • Fever

Gargling with warm saline water reduces the rashes. Also, acetaminophen helps in reducing fever. People are advised to take more fluids.

Erysipelas:
It is also called St. Anthony’s fire. It is a superficial infection of the skin. It is triggered by streptococcus bacteria and also by some types of staphylococcus bacteria. Often, it appears on lower extremities and face. The rashes appear within 4 – 48 hours after infection. The rashes are hot to touch, bright red in color, swollen and are shiny patches. These rashes appear like an orange peel. Other signs of this condition are as follows:

  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Fever

Oral antibiotics are prescribed to the infected person. In serious cases, intravenous antibiotics are administered to the patient.

Folliculitis:
Folliculitis is the hair follicle infection. The infected hair follicle appears like a tiny, yellow pustule. These develop due to trauma, exposure to water, excessive sweating, chemicals or chronic friction on skin.

Furuncle:
This is an extensive sebaceous gland infection. It appears on buttocks, armpits, neck and face. These appear like a small, tender and red nodule which becomes extremely painful. After a few days, it bursts off and drains pus. Generally, this infection disappears on its own.

Carbuncle:
Carbuncles are a group of furuncles. These appear in deep skin layers like subcutaneous fat. These are red in color, hot to touch and contain pus.

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