First Aid Handbook: Skin Infection

A person scratches their reddened hand
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Infections, unfortunately, come in all shapes, sizes, and in parts of the body. While the skin’s function is to protect your body from infections, it can sometimes become infected itself. Skin infections can be some of the most common and are usually very visible for all to see. Our Integrity Urgent Care team sees skin infections on patients on a regular basis and can help treat you.

What are skin infections?

A skin infection is any germ that has impacted your skin, at any layer, and is causing symptoms or issues. Infections can be caused by bacteria, like staphylococcal infections, viral, like shingles or warts, fungi, like yeast infections, or parasitic, like lice. Every skin infection can be introduced to your body in a different way but are often from direct contact. They can be diagnosed by a member of our Integrity Urgent Care team with a physical exam and sometimes additional labs are needed.

What would a skin infection look like?

The appearance of a skin infection depends on the type of infection. A parasitic infection, like lice would be most evident by the presence of the parasite itself. Even the same infection, like warts, may look different from person to person. Common symptoms are any redness, with or without pain, itching, pus, swelling, and rashes. They can cover a small portion or skin or cover a large area and sometimes are found with a break in the skin like a cut or laceration.

How can I treat a skin infection?

Treatment truly varies depending on a number of factors. If the infection has lingered for some time or spread to a large amount of the body, treatment may be a little more intensive than a localized area. Some infections can be treated with topical ointments or creams. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “possible treatments include medicines and a procedure to drain pus.” Still other infections may go away on their own with time and simply need to stay clean like the rest of your body.

How can I prevent a skin infection?

Prevention depends largely on the type of skin infection. Avoiding sharing hats, brushes, and other clothing items will help reduce the likelihood of getting a parasite like lice. Wearing sandals in common shower areas can reduce your chances of picking up viruses that cause warts. Washing hands with plenty of soap and warm water is a great way to slow down viruses and bacteria that cause a number of infections. Some people will be at greater risk for skin infections and should show extra precaution. Patients undergoing chemotherapy should be diligent in their care, as should patients with weakened immune systems for any number of reasons. Those with diabetes, the elderly, and malnourished will also develop skin infections more frequently. Individuals who are obese will want to be careful in cleaning themselves as well, to avoid infections in areas of their body.

If you have a skin infection or need help figuring that out, come see our care team at Integrity Urgent Care. We can diagnose and help develop a treatment plan for many common ailments and will provide you with the care you need. Contact us or come see us today.

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