Dealing with a Bacterial Skin Infection

Bacterial Skin Infection

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Sometimes it’s good to go with a tried and true approach to introducing an unpleasant subject matter – sharing interesting facts. Seeing as our topic today is bacterial skin infections, let’s keep it positive to start and consider the amazing nature of what is actually the body’s largest organ. For starters, if all the skin of your body was to be spread out on a flat surface it would cover a little more or less than 2 square meters.

Next, some people might be surprised to learn that your skin makes up about 15 percent of your body weight. The thickest skin on your body? On the bottom of your feet and 1.4mm deep on average. The thinnest? Just .02 of a mm and on your eyelids.

And now for the perfect segue – while a bacterial skin infection is no laughing matter, it’s important to not vilify ALL bacteria on your skin. Because if you did you’d be smearing nearly a billion bacteria with the same brush. That’s right, your skin has over 1000 species of bacteria microbiomes and over a billion individual bacteria on it at any time. The vast majority of them are beneficial, and it’s only ever a few outsiders that get up to no good.

Bad Apples of the Bunch

The expression ‘there’s bad apples in every bunch’ applies perfectly here, and in this case it’s a bunch that’s beyond enormous. Your bacterial skin infection treatment will depend on the type of infection and how it was caused. Let’s look at some of the most common bacterial skin infections before looking at which bacterial skin infection treatments are best for them.

Impetigo is one that involves lesions on the skin that often crust over and a frequently found on the face around the mouth and nose. It is fairly contagious, so people need to avoid touching the sores and then touching surfaces that may be contacted by other family members or the public. The ‘bad guy’ here causing impetigo is either staphylococcus aureus or streptococcus pyogenes.

Either of these staph bacteria may think they’re plenty tough and resilient, but they tend to be knocked out easily when treated with an antibiotic. And in the case of impetigo that usually means a course of oral antibiotics like Keflex (Cephalexin) or another that’s perfectly formulated for wiping out staph bacteria.

When a Cut Becomes More than a Cut

Giving patients stitches is one of the most common tasks that ER physicians and their attendants perform daily. Not surprising, as humans tend to cut themselves quite often. But what is surprising is the number one reason that doctors see patients after they come into the ER with a bad cut.

Any guess?

It’s actually stitches to the inside of the hand, caused by cutting a bagel with a bread knife. Yep, that’s the number one injury cause for stitches in hospital ERs across the country.

Cellulitis is bacterial infection that affects the two deeper layers of the skin – the dermis and subcutaneous tissue, it’s those same bacteria – staphylococcus and streptococcus – to blame, and cellulitis often develops where the skin has been broken. That includes cuts, ulcers, and even recent surgical wounds.

Keflex is a good choice as the bacterial skin infection treatment here too, and another one that’s fairly reliable for wiping out the bad bacteria is Doxycycline. It’s a tetracycline antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.

Think Twice About the Tub

There is no better time to enjoy a dip in a hot tub than after a full day of skiing. You have a soak for those sore quad muscles while enjoying all the scenery around you. I was especially keen to do so for years and years, and if I ever found one that was also a time machine I’d probably never get out.

However, it seems that even the cleanest of hot tubs may not be so clean actually. There’s been a few exposes on this, so if you’re a hot tub owner or a real aficionado who likes being in them then perhaps you shouldn’t read on.

Alright, fair warning given.

Folliculitis is a type of bacterial skin infection that – just as the name suggests – involves infection of the hair follicles in the skin’s epidermal layer. Sufferers will find tiny red bumps on the skin filled with pus. But what’s the connection to hot tubs? Right, we’re getting to that.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacteria that prefers to set up shop in whirlpools, water slides, pools, and hot tubs. As you might expect considering it’s being mentioned here, it’s also part of the bad apple bunch. If you’re exposed to it in the water, you’ll very likely develop hot tub folliculitis.

Although it’s a bother, it usually clears up on its own in 7 to 10 days. If  want to get rid of it right away, then Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) is one of the best choices for antibiotics for bacterial skin infections and it’ll help you get over your hot-tub regrets right quick.

The Really Scary

A bacterial skin infection is usually more of a short-term nuisance than any real cause for concern most of the time. We put that in italics there because there are definitely times when a bacterial skin infection is a cause for big-time concern. Some of you may have heard of flesh-eating disease and the way it can lead to people having limbs amputated or worse if it’s not countered in time.

Flesh-eating disease (sounds pure evil when you say it, doesn’t it?) is also known by its scientific name, necrotizing fasciitis. It is a bacterial skin infection of the absolute worst type, and it’s caused by the bacteria S. pyogenes or clostridium. We’d include some photos here, but it looks absolutely horrible so we’re going to skip that.

Wrap Up

Getting back to things a little more light-hearted to wrap things up here, the most common complaint that people have about their largest organ is chronically dry skin. If you’re one person who gets it, here’s a genuinely helpful suggestion. Stop using commercial bath soaps. They contain Lauryl Sulfate, and once you learn more about this stuff you’ll be even more drawn to organic soaps that don’t contain these harmful chemicals.

Once you start using organic soaps, toothpaste, and deodorant you’ll be a changed consumer for life. They’re that much better.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for your pet. See your veterinarian for medical advice and treatment for your pet if you have any concerns.

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