It's so important these days to know little things we can do to take care of our overall health. One way is by paying more attention to our skin. Majority of infections come through our skin. Yes, our skin is the first line of defence and barrier against such infections. Just as we are careful of what we take into our bodies, we can exercise the same care as to what we expose our skin to. Skin infections arise from a couple of specific areas:- bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast and parasites.
Bacteria Causing Skin Infection
Bacterial skin infections develop when bacteria enter through hair follicles or through small breaks in the skin. These breaks can be: scrapes, punctures, surgery, burns, sunburn, animal or insect bites, wounds and pre-existing skin disorders. Other means include some activities like gardening in contaminated soil or swimming in tainted water. Basically, any break in the skin predisposes one to infection.
The best way to prevent bacterial infection, is to keep skin clean and hydrated. Since our emphasis is on skincare, we really need to take a deeper look at the ingredients of products we use on our skin, their shelf life and the source.
Viral Infections That Affect The Skin
These can range from mild to severe. It includes: shingles, chickenpox, measles, warts, hand foot and mouth disease, herpes simplex. The most common viruses come from 1 of 3 groups:- poxvirus, human papillomavirus and herpes virus. The infections can be as a result of a virus inside our bodies or they can actually be on the skin.
Fungal Skin Infections
These types of skin infections are caused by a fungus and are more likely to develop in damp areas of the body such as the feet and armpit. Most are not contagious and not life threatening. These include athletes foot, yeast infections, ringworm, nail fungus, oral thrush and diaper rash.
Body chemistry and lifestyle can increase the risk of fungal skin infections. Since fungi normally grows in warm moist environments, wearing sweaty, wet clothing or footwear is a risk factor for skin infections. Having a break in the skin in those areas, may allow bacteria to get into the deeper layers.
Parasitic Skin Infections
Parasites cause skin infections. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of this. They can spread beyond the skin into the bloodstream and organs of our body.. They are never usually life threatening but can be harmful. These include lice and bed bugs. These tiny insects can burrow under skin and cause a parasitic skin infection.
Diagnosis & Treatment
If we are not certain what may be causing our skin to be infected, it is best to seek professional help. Get a good medical examination of our skin. Treatment is usually dependent on the causes of the infection and its severity. Once diagnosed, it is best to follow through on the recommended treatment until your skin is fully recovered.
Take Steps To Prevent Skin Infections
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing and sanitizing your hands regularly
- Protect your skin from the elements. Know your skin. Identify when it is displaying signs of discomfort or anything unusual.
- Environmental cleaning is essential. Keep your work area, even if in an office clean. At home, pay special attention to areas that are damp or subject to mould.
- Contact precautions is recommended by avoiding those with contagious skin infections
Skin infections need to be taken seriously. It's really not a joke! By knowing possible
threats and how they occur will significantly reduce your risk of skin infections. Remember, when in doubt seek medical help.