Skin infection is a condition where fungi, viruses, bacteria, and parasites have invaded your skin and the tissues underneath. Any skin condition like a cut, bite, sting, puncture, or piercing can be potentially infected when germs get into your wound.
Although in most cases, an infected wound only happens on the skin surface and can be handled at home; there can be a skin infection that starts deeper in the wound and needs more medical attention.
Swelling, redness, and pain around the wound are normal, but these should go away a day or two after. But if these conditions persist, then you might be suffering from a skin infection.
So, what are some of the signs and indications of a skin infection?
- If the redness and swelling spreads
- If you see pus around the wound
- If you smell or notice smelly fluid out of the wound
- If you see yellowish crust on top of the wound
- If you can see sores around the wound
- If you feel excruciating pain after a few days
- If swelling continues and gets worse after a few days
- If you have a high fever
- Dark or discolored skin around the wound
There are different types of skin infections. These are classified into 4: bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic.
- A bacterial infection usually begins small and then gradually increases in size and can be medicated with a topical or oral antibiotic. Examples of bacterial infections include boils, leprosy, cellulitis, and impetigo.
- Viral infections are caused by a virus which ranges from mild to severe. Common types of viral infections are chickenpox, warts, hand, foot, and mouth disease, measles, and shingles.
- Fungal infections commonly grow in damp areas of the body like feet and armpit. An infected wound due to fungi is not life-threatening but still needs to be treated. Different types of fungal infections are athlete’s foot, nail fungus, diaper rash, ringworm, yeast infection, and oral thrush.
- A parasitic skin infection can spread to the bloodstream and even if non-life-threatening, this still needs to be addressed. Different types of parasitic infections include scabies, bedbugs, and lice.
An infected wound can be treated depending on the cause and severity. For bacterial infections, these are often treated by applying topical antibiotic directly on the wound, or with oral antibiotics.
For severe cases of strains resistant to treatment, an intravenous antibacterial may be necessary. OTC or Over-The-Counter sprays, ointments, powders, or creams are available for fungal infections, but if for conditions with no improvement; your doctor can prescribe oral or topical creams. The same goes for patristic wound skin infections.
Home care and wound management are recommended to reduce symptoms of an infected wound. However, if you notice one or more signs of skin infections, then you should see a doctor immediately.
Remember that swelling, redness, and pain are normal especially if your wound or cut is new, but it should go away in the next few days. But if the pain and swelling get worse a day or two after, then call your doctor or go to the hospital right away.
We specialize in diagnosis and treatment for any and all wound care issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County, and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us.