What are some types of skin infections?

Skin infections can range from mildly uncomfortable to severely painful. There are several different types of infections that can affect the skin. Symptoms of a skin infection can include redness, tenderness, itchiness, scaly skin, rashes, and blister-like rashes.

Fungal infections are some of the most common skin infections. Yeast infections, athlete's foot, and itchy groin are all caused by a fungus. Ringworm is another fungal infection. These infections are most commonly treated with antifungal creams. Ringworm is treated with an antifungal medication taken by mouth. Treatments for less serious infections are usually available without a prescription at pharmacies or department stores.

Another type of skin infections are bacterial infections. People who have diabetes, a history of severe sunburn or other skin damage, or a weak immune system are at high risk of getting these infections. Cellulitis, a type of bacterial infection, is usually caused by a streptococcal or staph infection. Impetigo is also more commonly caused by a staph infection. Folliculitis, boils, and carbuncles, all caused by infections at the root of a hair follicle, are other types of bacterial infections. Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics if necessary.

Viral skin infections are also quite common. These included herpes, shingles, warts and cold sores. These infections are treatable, but not all are curable. Shingles, herpes and cold sores are characterized by outbreaks of small blisters or pus-filled ulcers on the skin. There are over sixty varieties of warts, and most are caused by the papilloma virus. 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 usually small worms or insects that burrow into the skin and travel through part of the body. Almost everyone has at least one variety of parasites living inside them. Hookworms, usually caught in dogs or cats, can cause a progressive rash. Scabies, caused by tiny mites, can be spread from person to person. Scabies appear as small red bumps where mites have laid eggs. Head lice are another parasitic skin infection. Head lice are tiny jumping insects that live in hair. They spread easily, usually from one child to another. Parasitic infections are usually treated with topical creams and prescription drugs. Lice are usually treated with special shampoos that kill the lice and their eggs.

Skin infections are often contagious. Most require medical treatment. If you have questions about whether or not you have a skin infection, contact your doctor or dermatologist. Anyone can accurately diagnose a skin condition and prescribe a treatment plan.

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