Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Its function is to protect your body from infection. Sometimes the skin itself becomes infected. Skin infections are caused by a wide variety of germs, and symptoms can vary from mild to serious.
Mild infections may be treatable with over-the-counter medications and home remedies, whereas other infections may require medical attention. Read on to learn more about skin infections and what to do if you have one.
What are the types of skin infections? The following are four different types of skin infections:
1. Bacterial skin infections
2. Viral skin infections
3. Fungal skin infections
4. Parasitic skin infection
What are the symptoms of a skin infection? The symptoms of a skin infection also vary depending on the type. Common symptoms include redness of the skin and a rash. You may also experience other symptoms, such as itching, pain, and tenderness. See a doctor if you have pus-filled blisters or a skin infection that doesn’t improve or gets progressively worse. Skin infections can spread beyond the skin and into the bloodstream. When this happens it can become life-threatening.
How is a skin infection diagnosed? A good medical exam is the best way to determine what is causing a skin infection. Often, doctors can identify the type of skin infection based on the appearance and location. Your doctor may ask about your symptoms and closely examine any bumps, rashes, or lesions. For example, ringworm often causes a distinct circular, scaly rash. In other cases, a sample of skin cells can help your doctor determine the type of infection.
How is a skin infection treated? Treatment depends on the cause of the infection and the severity. Some types of viral skin infections may improve on their own within days or weeks. Bacterial infections are often treated with topical antibiotics applied directly to the skin or with oral antibiotics. If the strain of bacteria is resistant to treatment, treating the infection may require intravenous antibiotics administered in the hospital.