The main function of skin, the largest organ of the body, is to protect the body from infection and yet there are times when the skin itself can become infected.1
Any breach in the skin, even something as minor as a cut or graze, can expose the body to bacterial invasion.2
Skin infections caused by bacteria can range from mild to serious.1 Mild cases can be treated with fusidic acid.3
More serious cases of infection may require a trip to your doctor and oral antibiotics.
Common examples of bacterial skin infection include:
- Abscesses / Boils
These are normally tender, reddish, firm or fluctuant masses of walled off pussy material, arising from hair follicles.4
- CarbunclesCarbunclesWhen more than one abscess or boil are connected to one another with tracts below the skin surface, it forms a larger abscess called a carbuncle.
If you have children then you may have encountered Impetigo. It’s a common skin infection in children that can easily spread from one child to another.3
Typically found in adult men, folliculitis is a bacterial infection of multiple hair follicles and is most often present on the face, scalp or legs.4
Infection can develop when a wound is contaminated with dirt and bacteria. Whilst wounds may be painful at first, pain that worsens a day or more after the injury is often the first sign of infection. Infected wounds become red and swollen and may ooze pus. A fever may also develop.5
What is the outlook for bacterial skin infection?
Normal, healthy skin presents a natural physical barrier to bacterial invasion2 but when there’s a break in the skin, bacterial infection can occur.
Most types of bacterial skin infections respond well to medications such as topical antibiotics.These work to eradicate harmful bacteria from the skin surface.2
For a mild bacterial infection, ask your pharmacist about a topical antibiotic from Adcock Ingram.
1. Healthline [Online] https://www.healthline.com/health/skin-infection. Accessed February 2020.
2. Leyden JJ. The Role of Topical Antibiotics in Dermatologic Practice [online] 25 June 2003 [cited March 2020]; Available from URL: https://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/457542_6.
3. Koning S, Verhagen AP, van Suijlekom-Smit LWA, et al. Interventions for Impetigo (Review). The Cochrane Collaboration. The Cochrane library 2009;3:1-75. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2003, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD003261. [Online] 2003 Apr 22 [Cited] March 2020. Available at: DOI: 10.1002/14651858 CD003261.pub2.
4. Stulberg DL, Penrod MA, Blatny RA. Common Bacterial Skin Infections. Am Fam Physician 2002;66(1):119-24. 5. Kaji AH. Wounds [online] April 2018 [cited March 2020]; Available from URL: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/injuries-and-poisoning/first-aid/wounds?query=Lacerations#.
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