Your skin has a monumentally important job. It’s your body’s biggest organ, and protective too. Your skin is the barrier that prevents things that could hurt you from entering your body.
There are chinks in the armor, however, in the form of skin infections. When a combination of certain problems occurs to cause an infection and they don’t get treated, you can actually develop a life-threatening condition called sepsis.
Dr. Shamala and her team have the best approach when it comes to evaluating, diagnosing, and treating skin infections. She’s also invested in educating her patients about the dangers associated with skin infections, and very importantly, ways to prevent them.
“Skin infection” isn’t a generic term
Did you know that there are actually four distinct types of skin infections? Learning about them not only helps you to properly identify symptoms and connect them to the infections that they’re associated with, but you can better partner with your doctor to treat them when armed with knowledge.
Four broad types of skin infections exist:
1. Viral skin infections
As you’d imagine, these infections are caused by viruses and include conditions suffered by many, like chickenpox, shingles, and warts.
2. Bacterial skin infections
Cellulitis, which often appears on the legs and causes areas on your skin to become warm and tender, is a bacterial infection. So is the contagious condition impetigo, which usually affects children.
Cellulitis can be spread via entry into the skin through a small or even imperceptible cut or bug bite, while impetigo is contracted by touching objects that the infected person has had contact with. It causes sores that typically break, ooze fluid, and develop crusty coatings.
3. Parasitic skin infections
As their name states, these skin infections are caused by parasites or organisms that need a host in order to survive. Common parasitic infections include lice and the dreaded bedbug.
In addition to the skin, they can also enter your bloodstream and even travel to your organs, both concerning situations.
4. Fungal skin infections
These skin infections thrive in damp parts of your body. Yeast infections, athlete’s foot, and diaper rash are all well-known fungal skin infections.
No matter which skin infection you get, becoming familiar with their symptoms means you’ll be ready to seek the proper care.
How can I tell I might have a skin infection?
As with any health issue, the symptoms of skin infections vary by how severe your infection is, but below are the top four indications you may be suffering from a skin infection:
1. Discomfort in the area of the skin infection
Depending on the particular infection you’re affected by, expect to feel sensitivity, pain, and in some cases, itching.
2. Unusual visual symptoms
By the time you have any one of the four major types of skin infections, you might be familiar with some of the symptoms that are visible. For example, you might notice blisters, a rash, or crusty skin in the infected area, and oozing pus as well.
Swelling and redness also factor significantly in skin infections.
3. Changes in the skin
Skin infections can cause superficial, temporary changes like rashes and blisters, as we noted before, but more serious changes that indicate an acceleration of infection and increased cause for concern are discoloration — especially darkening, which points to the death of infected tissue, and sloughing, or shedding skin.
4. Worsening symptoms
A sure sign of skin infection isn’t only the broad symptoms overall, it’s when they intensify. A skin infection that doesn’t heal after a week or so, increased swelling, redness, oozing, or pain, and fever are all alarming symptoms of a skin infection gone awry
How are skin infections treated?
As with many health problems, the sooner you see a medical professional for treatment, the lower your chances are of experiencing a severe skin infection. Since Dr. Shamala is a board-certified family medicine physician, she’s ready to diagnose and treat all manner of skin infections.
Depending on the type of skin infection you have, Dr. Shamala might prescribe:
- Antiviral medications (for viral skin infections)
- Antifungal medications (for fungal skin infections)
- Topical or oral antibiotics (for bacterial skin infections)
- Anti-inflammatory medications and topical creams (for parasitic infections)
Skin infections are just one of the many problems that Dr. Shamala treats quickly and comfortably, so your issue is resolved with minimal hassle. If she needs to perform tests, like a skin culture, Dr. Shamala takes advantage of our on-site lab so you can get your results more quickly.
Call our office to book an appointment if you suspect you may have a skin infection, or schedule one online.