Bacterial skin infections are commonly experienced conditions that are easy to treat but also very uncomfortable (and often painful). The easiest way to know if you have one of these conditions is to learn and be able to recognize the common bacterial skin infection symptoms. If it does occur that you have contracted one of these, there are many ways to manage and treat them. However, they can also be avoided and prevented.
What is Bacterial Skin Infection?
These conditions occur when bacteria can get on or under the skin, often through an open cut or wound, and create an infection.
According to Merck Manuals, "The most common [bacteria that cause these conditions] are staphylococcus and streptococcus."
Usually, they will cause some symptoms, many of which are particularly visible as the skin itself has been affected.
Common Bacterial Skin Infection Symptoms
A variety of symptoms could point to a bacterial skin infection. Any of the issues below could lead to the presence of a bacterial infection.
• Cellulitis: a red, swollen, warm spot on the body caused by bacteria under the top layer of skin
• Impetigo: a painful and contagious rash, which may become encrusted if not properly cared for
• Boil: a pus-filled pocket that forms over a hair follicle or gland, which may ooze pus.
• Carbuncle: a group of boils that form together
• Abscess: a more massive boil filled with pus that is red and painful
• Blister: a serum-filled bubble on the skin that can be a sign of bacteria when it forms around a hair follicle (folliculitis)
General Management of Bacterial Skin Infection
According to the New York State Department of Health, "While many bacterial skin infections are mild and easily treatable, some can become very serious and even life-threatening." That is why it is essential to consult a doctor, no matter what symptoms the infection has caused. However, there are some general things you can do to manage your condition.
• Keep the area clean and covered with a bandage.
• Make sure to redress the area often; do not leave the dressing on for too long.
• Don't compete in contact sports or do other things where you might come into frequent contact with others while you are trying to manage and heal your condition.
• Have the area drained by a doctor if necessary.
• Take antibiotics or use a prescribed cream to treat the infection.
With careful management, most of these conditions and the symptoms they cause do clear up on their own, but it is still important to consult a doctor, especially if you have a more severe condition like MRSA.
Prevention of Bacterial Skin Infection
There are also a number of ways to help avoid contracting a bacterial skin infection. These include:
• Cleaning equipment at the gym before and after use
• Avoiding using someone else's personal items like deodorant, razors, brushes, towels, makeup, etc.
• Washing your hands regularly and or use hand sanitizer
• Not touching someone else's wounds or bandages
• Showering after you play sports or go to the gym
• Keeping any cuts, scrapes, or open wounds clean and covering them if you're going out or exercising
Recognizing a Bacterial Skin Infection
If you are aware of your body and follow the precautionary measures listed above, you can avoid contracting one of these conditions. However, it is essential to be able to recognize skin bacterial infection symptoms.