Prescription Antibiotic for Skin Infection in Portland, ME
About skin infection
Skin infections occur when a pathogen - an organism that causes disease - affects the skin. Skin infections may be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. Most skin infections are mild and can be treated with over-the-counter medication and self-care methods. More severe infections, however, may require medical attention.
Below are common skin infections, grouped into the organism that causes them:
- Cellulitis: A potentially life-threatening infection caused by the Staphylococcus and Streptococcus (strep) bacteria. Cellulitis results in red, painful, and inflamed skin. Cellulitis doesn’t transfer from person to person but can spread across the body.
- Impetigo: A mild skin infection that commonly affects young children (younger than 12). Impetigo results in sores on the skin that cluster around the nose and mouth. This infection is highly contagious but produces mild symptoms.
- Boils: Also known as furuncles, boils are bacterial infections of hair follicles. Bacteria enter the skin through an opening of the skin and affect the tissue around a hair follicle. This results in a painful raised bump around the infected follicle.
- Chickenpox: Chickenpox - or varicella - is a common viral condition that primarily affects young children. The virus causes fever, as well as an itchy red rash that spreads across the body. Chickenpox is highly contagious, but it is rare to have the disease more than once.
- Shingles: Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Once you’ve had chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in the body. The virus can reactivate after years, causing a painful, red rash that crusts over across the body. Shingles is not contagious, but the virus can cause chickenpox in individuals who have not yet had it, or who aren’t vaccinated.
- Warts: Warts are very common infections caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are several different kinds of warts, which appear in different parts of the body. These growths commonly occur on the feet, toes, and hands. Warts - small rough bumps in the skin - are relatively harmless, but may result in bleeding and pain.
- Athlete’s foot/ Jock itch: These fungal infections occur in moist areas of the body such as the feet and groin. The fungi that cause athlete’s foot and jock itch can be transmitted via contaminated surfaces such as locker room floors and clothing. Once the fungus infects the skin, it causes an itchy red rash.
- Yeast infections: The candida fungus grows naturally, and is balanced by your immune system. A change in hormones, antibiotic use, or douching can disrupt this balance, which leads to an overgrowth of candida. Yeast infections can cause abnormal discharge, itching, and irritation in the affected area.
- Ringworm: Not actually a worm, this fungal infection results in a red, ring-like rash in the affected area. These itchy patches of skin can blister and may spread to other parts of the body. Ringworm is contagious and may be spread through contact with pets, or contaminated surfaces (such as locker room floors).
- Lice: These tiny wingless insects feed by drawing blood from just under the skin. This causes extreme itchiness and sores from scratching. Lice are highly contagious and are easily transmitted through contact with the contaminated area or the personal items of an infected individual.
- Bed bugs: Bed bugs are tiny insects that live in areas such as the corners of rooms, sheets, and clothing. These parasites feed by drawing blood from exposed skin and are extremely difficult to get rid of. They cause an itchy, red rash that is usually arranged in a cluster or line of bite marks.
- Scabies: Scabies are microscopic mites that burrow and lay eggs in the skin. The mites then multiply and cause an itchy, red rash. Scabies are highly contagious, but can usually be effectively treated with medication.
Talk to a health care provider if you are experiencing an unexplained rash or blistering. These are the most common symptoms of a skin infection. Because these infections can be so contagious, you must begin treatment early to prevent spread.
Below is a summary of common treatment options for skin infections. Specific treatment will depend on your symptoms and the cause of your infection. During your appointment, tell your provider about your symptoms and discuss the treatment plan that’s right for you.