Skin Infections & Abscesses

The skin is the largest organ on the body and is in constant contact with the outside world. This contact can result in a number of infections and disorders with unpleasant symptoms that may need to be treated by a doctor.

Identifying a Skin Infection
Skin problems may results from bacteria, such as a staph infection; fungi, as in the case of ringworm; or viruses like chicken pox. Yeast is another common cause of skin infection. These conditions may be acute or chronic, and each has its own set of symptoms.

Many people also experience abscesses. An abscess is a small bump, usually red in color, filled with fluid or pus. These unsightly bumps can appear anywhere but are often found around hair follicles. The bumps are usually benign, but in some cases they may be signs of a more serious infection.

Skin Symptoms to Watch For
In order to distinguish between the wide variety of possible skin conditions, doctors need to know the exact combination of symptoms you’re experiencing. Most are easily visible, but it’s important to report the ones that aren’t so that the correct treatment can be chosen.

Depending on the type of infection, you may experience:

Blisters
• Dry or cracked skin
• Itching
• Lesions
• Rash
• Redness
• Skin discoloration
• Small red bumps filled with fluid
• Sores
• Swelling
• Tenderness
Thick or scaly skin

Individuals with compromised immunity or those suffering from injuries that leave breaks in the skin are at increased risk for skin infections.

Treatment for Skin Conditions
Mild skin problems may be treated using over-the-counter creams or lotions. Aggressive cases of psoriasis, eczema and other conditions could require prescription-strength topical treatments. Antibiotics are sometimes used to address bacterial infections, and persistent abscesses may need to be drained by a doctor.

If you have a skin condition and that refuses to clear up, begins to spread or is accompanied by symptoms such as fever, nausea, swelling or drainage, it’s time to get medical attention. A local urgent care office is often the fastest way to be seen and get on the road to recovery.

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