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Common Bacterial Skin Infections

What are some common types of bacterial skin infections?

Below are common bacterial skin infections.

Infection

Symptoms

Treatment

Erysipelas

A skin infection most often caused by hemolytic streptococci. This condition usually affects the face or legs. In rare cases it affects an area that was injured or where the skin is cut. Many people have a fever or flu-like symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • Shiny, red, raised rash

  • Small blisters

  • Enlarged and tender lymph nodes

Treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics

Erythrasma

A bacterial skin infection of the top layers of skin, more common in the tropics. This is caused by C. minutissimum bacteria. This condition mainly affects obese adults and people with diabetes. This condition usually appears in areas on the body where skin touches skin, such as under the breast and in the groin area. Symptoms may include irregular pink patches that turn into brown scales.

Treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics put on the skin or taken by mouth

The infection may return, needing another treatment.

Impetigo

A skin infection, caused by a streptococcal or staphylococci infection. Symptoms include pus-filled blisters or pustules. Blisters can range in size from peas to large rings. There is often oozing honey-colored liquid and yellowish scabs. Impetigo tends to occur on the face, arms, or legs. Impetigo is most common in children. It is very contagious. But symptoms usually don’t affect the whole body.

Getting treatment right away may help prevent impetigo from infecting deeper layers of skin. Treatment often includes antibiotics put on the skin or taken by mouth.

Paronychia

A skin infection around a fingernail or toenail. This infection can be caused by a break in the skin from a hangnail, manicure, fingernail biting, or other chronic irritation. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain

  • Pus-filled abscess

Treatment may include:

  • Using hot compresses

  • Soaking in warm water

  • Cutting the abscess to drain the pus

  • Taking antibiotics

  • If caused by a fungus, using antifungal cream or another antifungal medicine

The symptoms of bacterial skin infections may look like other skin conditions. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

Online Medical Reviewer: Lehrer, Michael Stephen, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2017
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