Updated on 19 May 2023
Skin is the largest organ of our body and performs a vital function of protecting us (our internal organs) from infections and any damage. However, sometimes we suffer from skin conditions that are common. Skin infections can be caused by bacteria, parasites, fungi, or viruses and can happen anywhere on the body, including the scalp.
Let's quickly review a few common skin illnesses and their treatment for skin infections:
Bacteria cause many skin infections, and cellulitis is one such bacterial skin infection causing the skin to be inflamed, swollen, and painful to touch. Although a very common infection, cellulitis, if left untreated, can soon become a serious issue and spread rapidly. The infection begins as a reddish area that is swollen and warm to the touch. It usually affects the lower limbs of the body. It is caused when bacteria enter the bloodstream through cuts, open wounds, or bug bites.
Treatment: Major treatment of cellulitis includes an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory prescription from the doctor. In case the patient is not responding to oral antibiotics, they might have to be admitted to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics. Good wound care and personal hygiene are important to prevent a recurrence.
Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus (not caused by any worm). It is called a “ringworm” as it is a ring-shaped rash, red and itchy. It usually causes itchiness, scaly skin, and the development of blisters or pustules. Ringworms are contagious and can spread through contact.
Treatment: Antifungal topical creams are usually beneficial in treating ringworms. If the infection is severe and chronic, patients will have to take antifungal pills prescribed by a doctor for quite some time.
Warts are another common skin infection caused due to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The infection causes rough, skin-colored bumps to form on the skin. You can get warts from touching someone who has them. Sometimes tiny black dots can also be visible with warts, which are small, clotted blood vessels. The virus causes an excess amount of keratin, a hard protein, to develop in the top skin layer (epidermis). However, they might usually not be dangerous but can be painful and embarrassing.
Treatment: However, since warts are contagious, ensure that if you are rubbing a wart with something, do not use that thing on any other body part. Also, if you are diabetic, do not try home remedies for warts on your feet. Instead, consult a doctor who may treat it with liquid nitrogen, medications, or in some rare cases, surgery.
4. Diaper Rash
Diaper rash is a common skin issue among babies. Sometimes adults who wear diapers can also face the issue. Diaper rash is usually caused when someone sits too long in a dirty diaper. The excrement in the diaper can cause bacteria and yeast to thrive, causing an infection. This can also aggravate the irritation if the appropriate action is not taken in time.
Treatment: There are several diaper rash creams available. Plant-based creams that contain aloe and calendula are especially helpful in fighting inflammation and bacteria that cause diaper rash. Other common topical medications include hydrocortisone for swelling, antifungal or antibiotic creams for infections, zinc oxide, etc. Be careful not to use any cream containing steroids for your baby without a doctor’s prescription.
Lice can be considered a parasitic skin infection. Lice infestation is most common in children. Lice are nothing but small insects that usually infest scalps. They feed on one’s blood and can be difficult to get rid of. They can be transmitted from one individual to another through direct contact.
Treatment: Head lice can be a nuisance as there are only limited options available to treat them. There are professional lice treatment centers that can help. The common methods to be used at home include wet combing, using essential oils like Tea tree oil, Anise oil, and ylang-ylang oil, and using smothering agents like mayonnaise, petroleum jelly, olive oil, butter, etc. The smothering agents are usually left overnight on one’s head with a shower cap to deprive the lice of air and kill them. Doctors may prescribe medication to kill lice. However, several follow-ups & re-treatments may be needed to get rid of them completely.
As the common saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Taking simple precautions can help prevent the onset of common skin infections. If you are wondering how to prevent skin infections, read some simple ways that can help:
With the recent popularity of skincare, many people have started focusing on how to take care of their skin. Bedtime skincare routines have become a common norm. However, the focus here is mostly on facial skin. This causes the rest of the skin to become often neglected. Try taking care of your overall hygiene and skin. If you suspect a skin infection, do not wait for the problem to aggravate before consulting a doctor.
Home remedies may work in some cases. However, sometimes trying unapproved home remedies can actually be harmful. It is, therefore, always safe to seek a doctor’s consultation.
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