What are Some Types of Skin Infections?

Shingles are caused by a viral skin infection.
Rashes may indicate a skin infection.
A cold sore.
Most minor bacterial skin infections can be treated with a topical antibiotic ointment.
A wart is a skin infection caused by a virus.
Lice are parasites that infect the skin.
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  • Written By: Margo Upson
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Skin infections can range from mildly annoying to severely painful. There are several different types of infections that can affect the skin. Symptoms of a skin infection may include redness, tenderness, itching, flaky skin, rashes, and blister-type eruptions.

Fungal infections are some of the most common skin infections. Yeast infections, athlete’s foot, and jock itch are all caused by a fungus. Ringworm is another fungal infection. These infections are most commonly treated with anti-fungal creams. Ringworm is treated by an ingested anti-fungal medicine. Treatments for the less serious infections are often available over the counter at drug or department stores.

Another type of skin infections are bacterial infections. People who have diabetes, a history of bad sunburns or other skin damage, or an immune system deficiency are at a great risk for these infections. Cellulitis, one type of bacterial infection, is most often caused by a strep or staph infection. Impetigo is also caused most commonly by a staph infection. Folliculitus, boils, and carbuncles, all caused by infections at the root of a hair follicle, are other types of bacterial infections. Bacterial infections are treated by antibiotics, if necessary.

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Viral skin infections are also fairly common. These included herpes, shingles, warts, and cold sores. These infections are treatable, but not all curable. Shingles, herpes, and cold sores are all characterized by outbreaks of small puss-filled blisters or crusted sores on the skin. There are over sixty varieties of warts, and most are caused by papillomavirus. They can be removed by a doctor, or treated with an over the counter product.

Skin infections can also be caused by parasites. Parasites are normally small worms or insects that burrow into the skin, and work their way through part of the body. Almost everyone has at least one variety of parasites living inside them. Hookworms, normally picked up from dogs or cats, can cause creeping eruption. Scabies, caused by small mites, can be spread person to person. Scabies presents with small red bumps where the mites have laid eggs. Lice are another parasitic skin infection. Lice are small, jumping bugs that live in hair. They are easily spread, usually from child to child. Parasitic infections are usually treated with topical creams and prescribed medications. Lice are usually treated with special shampoos that kill both lice and their eggs.

Skin infections are often contagious. Most require medical treatment. If you are in doubt as to whether or not you have a skin infection, contact your doctor or a dermatologist. Either one can accurately diagnose a skin condition and prescribe a treatment plan.

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Discuss this Article

anon170651
Post 4

What is the best treatment for the fungal skin infection that is on the back of the neck.

galen84basc
Post 3

Could you tell me more about the symptoms of fungus skin infections? I would be very interested to learn in how you can tell whether an infection is fungal or not, and how to differentiate between the different kinds of fungus skin infections themselves.

Do you have any information about this topic?

pharmchick78
Post 2

@pleats -- Scary is right -- especially because it's true. However, there are a few things you need to understand about bacterial skin infections to truly understand how this works.

First, not all pimples contain staph bacteria. A boil may contain it, and some very infected acne may as well, but it's not like every single pimple you have is a source of staph.

Secondly, the body is pretty good at fighting off bacteria that cause skin infections, so their body may fight off the bacteria without them even knowing its there. The time that this kind of situation gets really serious is if you are around someone who is immuno-compromised, very old, or very young.

These people are more susceptible to any kind of infection, and have less of a chance of fighting it, should the infection become serious.

So although the situation to which you refer could certainly happen, and does certainly happen, it is rarely very serious unless the other party is immuno-compromised.

pleats
Post 1

I had heard that it's possible to pass on a staph skin infection simply by popping a pimple and then shaking hands with someone -- is that true? Because if so, that's really, really scary!

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