Bacterial Infection Information
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Bacterial Skin Infections

The skin is the body’s largest organ, and protects all of the internal organs from external factors such as the sun, sharp objects, and of course infections. In fact the skin does a remarkable job of protecting the body from infection, most enter the body thru the nose, mouth, ears, eyes, anus, or groin. Yet, bacterial skin infections do occur, and can be both painful and disfiguring if not treated early.

Most bacterial skin infections are caused by a single family of bacteria, the Staphylococcus, but infections vary in name, symptoms, and severity quite significantly. Milder infections may only exhibit small reddish bumps, compared with more serious infections that may attack the entire skin right thru to it’s deepest levels.

Staph Infection

The staphylococcus aureus bacteria is carried by roughly 20% of the population, and as many as 40%, so infection is certainly not a definite result of being a carrier, most often the bacteria doesn’t become pathogenic until the skin is cut or grazed, and even then only in very few cases which seems to be more dependent on a weakened immune system.

Groups most at risk from contracting a bacterial skin infection are children, the elderly, and people with already suppressed immune systems or diabetes, although in a small number of cases they can occur in healthy individuals. Within schools and play centers it is important that mats and other surfaces that children are in contact with are kept clean using hospital grade disinfectant to minimize chances of bacterial transfer.

The most common bacterial skin infections noted in US hospitals, a trend that is similar in other developed nations, are cellulitis, impetigo, and folliculitis. Prevention of contracting skin infections relies to a great extent on cleanliness and avoiding breaks in the skin, and when a break occurs, immediately washing the affected area with soap and water.

Impetigo, one of the most common bacterial skin infections is most often seen in young children, usually between the ages of two and five. It manifests in groups of small red bumps which eventually open, becoming crusty, and have a honey colored appearance. They are highly contagious, both at play group, and at home, and often children will become reinfected after showing signs of recovery.

Cellulitis is a deeper more serious bacterial skin infection affecting the deeper dermis and subcutaneous tissues, which more usually affects the face arms and legs, and almost always occurs due to a break in the skin that leads to infection. The skin around the break will swell and become tender and painful, often showing outward signs of blistering. In some cases red lines will run between the lymph nodes. Fever and chills are other symptoms, and patients with fever generally require urgent medical attention.

Folliculitis is a bacterial infection of the skin at the hair follicles, with swelling, and pustules surrounding the hair, and are often quite painful. Two types of folliculitis exist, a superficial infection, and a deeper infection that can extend into the tissue surrounding the follicle resulting in hard painful nodules.

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1 Bacterial Staph Infection | Bacterial Infection { 02.17.09 at 5:47 pm }

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