The skin is a major barrier against infections. Even though numerous bacteria and other organism live on the skin, these are normally held in check by the skin's protective mechanisms. However, sometimes, these systems fail and infections can occur on the skin.
Most skin infections are mild and can be easily treated. However, there are some skin infections, which can be lethal
Individuals who are most prone to skin infections are:
Diabetics: All organisms love sugar and when the blood sugar is high, it encourages the growth of numerous bacteria
Vascular disease: Those individuals with diabetes and atherosclerosis develop blockage of their blood vessels and have decreased blood flow to the legs and feet. In these individuals, the lack of blood supply to the extremities makes them very prone to development of skin infections.
Immunosuppressed: Individuals who take drugs to suppress the immune system are also prone to skin and other infections. The immunosuppressive drugs decrease the number of scavenging cells which normally kill bacteria and fungi.
Trauma: When the skin is damaged, the chance of developing a skin infection is high. In most individuals the body can grow the skin back but if the skin damage is extensive and there is a delay in healing, infections are common
Burns: Those individuals who suffer deeper degree burn injury are quite prone to skin infections. The burn destroys the body's protective defenses including oil secreting glands and other scavenging cells.
Medical disorders: There are many medical disorders which can make the skin prone to infections. These range from various collagen vascular disorders to autoimmune disorders.
Skin infections can be caused by:
Bacteria: There are many bacteria which can infect the skin; the most common are staphylococcus and streptococcus. Bacterial skin infections include:
- Toxic shock syndrome
Fungal skin infections include:-
Viral infections of the skin include:
- Herpes simplex
- Chicken pox
Parasitic Infections of the Skin include:
- Creeping Eruptions