Dermal or skin infection is a disease of the outer protective covering of the body caused by invasion of different microorganisms. There are 4 types of dermal infections depending on the causative agent:
- Bacterial: Dermal infections are commonly caused by Staphylococcus Aureus and Group A-Beta hemolytic Streptococci.
- Viral: Viruses like Herpes Simplex and Herpes Zoster are responsible for viral dermal infections.
- Fungal: Fungal infections of skin are commonly caused by Candida, Tinea corporis, Epidermophyton, and Trichophyton.
- Parasitic: Itch mite or scabiei, hookworms, and hair lice can cause parasitic infections of the skin.
Different microorganism can cause dermal infections, which include:
- Bacteria: Bacteria may enter the body through normal skin, or broken skin from cuts or wounds and cause dermal infections like cellulitis and impetigo.
- Viruses: An infection can be elicited as a reaction of virus in the body. Common infections caused by viruses are Shingles, warts, and herpes simplex.
- Fungi: Moist and damp environment is favorable for the growth of fungi. Some fungal infections include Athletes foot and yeast infections.
- Parasites: Parasites may also cause dermal infections like scabies, pediculosis, lice, and bedbugs.
You are at an increased risk of developing dermal infections if you have the following conditions:
- Weak immunity
- Old age
Eczema is the most common form of skin allergy, making the skin red, itchy and rough. It may be due to low immunity, a genetic cause of sensitive skin, naturally dry skin, asthma, reaction to food items like nuts or eggs.
- Leprosy – contagious disease of the skin caused by a bacteria and causes discoloration of skin with lumps. Severe cases lead to deformities.
- Cellulitis – the most commonly seen bacterial skin infections, skin becomes warm, red and swollen when the bacteria gets inside the skin through some cut or abrasion.
- Boils – a bacterial infection that affects the hair-follicle and oil glands of skin where a small lump forms that become pus-filled later.
- Impetigo (school sores) - is a contagious disease of skin where the bacteria can infect the intact skin and form pus-filled sores.
- Measles – an itchy or non-itchy rash of the skin caused by rubella virus along with flu and fever.
- Chickenpox - caused by varicella virus, fluid-filled itchy red rash on the skin of stomach, face, and limbs that is highly contagious.
- Shingles – caused by a reactivated varicella-zoster virus, forms fluid-filled sores that later form a crust.
- Cold sores – caused by herpes virus, appearing as blisters on lips and around the mouth.
Fungi like candida are part of the body’s normal flora (non-harmful microorganisms on our body) but when the immune system weakens they might take an aggressive form and cause infections.
- Athlete’s foot – it is seen usually in athletes who wear shoes and socks most of the time and the moist warm skin between toes of feet is the excellent spot for fungi growth. The skin becomes red and starts to peel off in the affected areas along with burning and itching.
- CANDIDAL INFECTIONS
- Toenail infection – nails become discolored (yellow, grey or black) and thicken and crack.
- Vaginal candidiasis –‘vaginal thrush’ in which the skin of vagina becomes red, itchy, swollen and painful. Burning sensation felt while passing urine and fluid-like or white cheesy discharge with a foul smell.
- Oral thrush – white patches inside the mouth on cheek and tongue that appear again after scraping off.
- Ringworm disease – a fungal infection in the form of red ring-like patches on the skin of scalp, feet, beard, and groin. Hair fall and bald patches are a common sign, the red patches on skin eventually become painful, swollen and start oozing fluid.
Skin infections are diagnosed by proper examination of the skin rash and sores, vagina for signs of fungus, any cuts and damaged skin that lead to bacterial invasion, nails and scalp are also checked.
To distinguish between fungal and psoriasis infections, the biopsy is a useful tool, in which we take a small scraping of skin to be seen under a microscope.
- Topical antibiotics and antifungal ointments.
- In cases of multiple affected areas, a course of oral medicines is given.
- Analgesic and corticosteroids to soothe a painful rash.
- Moisturizers for scaly skin in eczema and steroid injections or dressings if the lesion is persistent.
- Keeping the affected skin dry and clean in cases of fungal infection and psoriasis.
- Gentle medicated soaps to wash the infected skin.
- Eating lots of fresh greens and fruits to have a healthy skin.
- Keep your skin hydrated and drink water to wash out impurities from your system.
When to consult a doctor?
An infectious state of skin which doesn’t get better with simple measures and over-the-counter creams and medicines needs an immediate visit to the skin doctor who will identify the problem and treat it accordingly.