During humid weather, skin infections are very common. Now, they do happen through the entire season, but humid weather is when you should be extra careful.
Skin infections can be contagious and have to be managed effectively and quickly. If not, you risk infecting other people, and the circle continues.
Types of skin infections
There are four types of skin infections. Causes of each type depending on the source of infection. The four types of skin infections are bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic. Bacterial and viral infections are hard to contract.
However, fungal infections can spread very easily and quickly. In some cases, skin infections can be caused by an injury, especially when your injury is exposed to the environment. In this case, the injury attracts germs, and they can infect your skin.
In most cases, skin infections are minor, and with the proper care and hygiene, you can take care of them in a few days. However, if the skin infection lasts more than three days, you should schedule a visit to the doctor, preferably a dermatologist to see what the problem is. In some cases, you might have to receive a more concentrated form of treatment.
You can say that bacterial infections are the most common type of skin infections. They can range from mild, to even life-threatening. Majority of bacterial infections are caused by just two types of bacteria, a variant of Streptococcus (the same bacteria causing strep throat) and Staphylococcus aureus.
In most cases, bacterial infections can be treated with home remedies, and by a general physician. Rarely, complex bacterial infections require the help of a specialist dermatologist.
Here are some common bacterial infections:
- Cellulitis affects two deeper layers of the skin, which are the dermis and the subcutaneous tissue. Can be caused by the two main bacteria, but also other types of bacteria
- Erysipelas is commonly referred to as St. Anthony’s Fire, because it is painful, and often accompanied by an intense burning sensation in the skin
- Folliculitis is a common infection caused by clogging and infection of the hair follicles. You will notice tiny and red bumps filled with pus
- Impetigo is another infection affecting the top layer, and it is also known as the epidermis. This infection is highly contagious. It happens more commonly in children than in adults
- One of the most complex bacterial infections is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. It is resistant to standard antibiotic treatment and requires special care by a dermatologist
Viral skin infections
As the name suggests, viral infections are caused by a virus. Most of the viruses causing skin infections can cause other skin conditions as well. In most cases, viral infections are mild, but can sometimes be severe.
Here are the most common ones:
- Measles, a highly contagious infectious disease caused by the measles virus. In some cases, measles can cause an epidemic, as they spread easily between children. In addition to skin rash, symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and inflamed eyes
- Chickenpox is also highly contagious. The viral infection causes an itchy rash, accompanied by small and fluid-filled blisters
- Shingles are another infection caused by the varicella virus. Same as chickenpox, the infection causes a painful rash, and can occur anywhere on the body
- Warts are growths on your skin caused by the HPV virus. Commonly, they appear on your fingers, but also on the soles of your feet. Genital warts are sexually transmitted disease
Fungal skin infections
Fungal skin infections usually develop in damp areas of your body. The reason is simple, wet and damp areas are a perfect breeding ground for fungus. Usually, those areas include the armpit and the feet. In most cases, fungal infections are not contagious, and they are not life-threatening.
The common fungal infections are:
- Athlete’s foot
- Nail fungus
- Yeast infections
- Oral thrush
- Diaper rash
Parasitic skin infections
Last, but not least, we have parasitic skin infections. As the name suggests, they are caused by a parasite. They spread beyond the skin, into your bloodstream and organs. While they are not life-threatening, parasitic infections are highly uncomfortable.
The most common ones are:
- Cutaneous larva migrans
Symptoms of a skin infection
As mentioned previously, depending on the type of skin infection, the symptoms can vary. But there are some general and common symptoms you will notice, like redness of the skin and rash.
Other symptoms include itching, pain, and tenderness of your skin.
If you notice pus-filled blisters, that do not improve over a period of a few days, you should visit a doctor.
Signs of severe infections include:
- Skin sloughing
- Skin breakdown
- Dark, and necrotic-appearing skin
- Skin that becomes discolored
How to treat skin infections naturally
There are many natural and home remedies for skin infections. Here are some of the most common ones.
Garlic is considered to be one of the best natural antibiotics. This small veggie has antifungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and other health properties.
The treatment works for localized and limited to a certain area infection. Garlic will help localize the infection and stop the spreading.
Here is how to use garlic.
- Mince 2 cloves of garlic. Mash the garlic cloves into a fine paste
- Add 3 drops of olive oil, and mix well with the garlic paste
- Apply the paste on your affected area. Cover with a bandage. Let the paste work its magic for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight
- Rinse off with lukewarm water. Repeat once per day
Tea tree oil
Widely considered the best antibacterial treatment, tea tree oil is a potent remedy that can help with any bacterial and viral skin infection.
In addition to stopping the infection, tea tree oil will also help with inflammation. You can even use it when the infection has spread to a large portion of your skin.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of pure organic coconut oil and 5 drops of tea tree essential oil
- You can also dilute tea tree oil in water, but carrier oil like coconut works much better
- Apply the diluted mixture onto the affected area. Massage it gently
- Do not wash your skin afterward. Repeat once per day
Neem is another ingredient that is just great against germs on the skin. You can use it to clean your skin and purify it of any microbes. With some turmeric powder in the mix, you can also reduce itching and inflammation.
- Pick 1 cup of fresh neem leaves, making sure they are tender and small
- Boil in 3 cups of water, and wait until the water has turned dark green in color
- Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, and mix well
- Strain the leaves, and use the water to wash the infected area 2 times per day
Honey has potent antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. It is one of the most soothing ingredients for skin issues. In the same time, honey helps moisturize your skin.
- Apply organic and raw honey on the affected area
- Wait for 15 minutes, and then rinse with lukewarm water
- Repeat once per day