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Skin Infections

Lee Health: Helping You Understand Your Child's Skin Infection and Treatment Options

Lee Health Pediatric Specialists understand the importance of compassionate care for your child when addressing any of their medical needs. An important first step is understanding your child's condition, treatment options, and care needs. Read more below about these common skin conditions.

What is a skin infection?

Skin infections have a variety of causes including bacterial, viral, fungal or even parasitic. Due to the various causes the symptoms if skin infection also vary based on the unique cause of the infection. 

Mild infections are often treatable with over-the-counter medications and home remedies, whereas more serious infections may require medical attention.

Read more to learn more about pediatric skin infections and your Lee Health treatment options.

Symptoms of Skin Infections

While symptoms of skin infection based upon the type and cause, the most common symptoms include redness of the skin and rash. Additionally your child may experience other symptoms such as itching, tenderness or pain.

If your child has pus-filled blisters or a skin infection that does not improve contact your child's care provider immediately. Skin infections can spread beyond the skin, into the bloodstream and can become life-threatening.

Signs of a severe infection include:

  • Blisters
  • Pus
  • Skin sloughing or breakdown
  • Dark skin that becomes discolored or painful

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Causes of Skin Infections

The cause of your child's skin infection varies based on the type of infection but the most common causes include:

Bacterial skin infections occur when bacteria enters the body through a cut, scratch or other break in the skin. If you have a weakened immune system, a break in the skin may increase your risk of a bacterial skin infection.

Viral skin infections are most commonly caused by three main groups of viruses, human papillomavirus (HPV), poxvirus, and herpes virus.

Fungal infections risks can be increased due to body chemistry and lifestyle. There are millions of species of fungi and they often grows in warm, moist environments.

Parasitic skin infections are caused by tiny insects or organisms burrowing under your skin and laying eggs.

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Common Bacterial Skin Infections

While bacterial infection symptoms vary, they often begin as small, red bumps on the skin that slowly increase in size. Depending on the severity and type of bacterial infection your child's bacterial skin infection could be treated with topical antibiotics or an oral antibiotics.

Common Bacterial Skin Infections Include:

  • Cellulitis causes redness, swelling and pain that is warm and tender to the touch in the infected area. While cellulitis can appear anywhere on the body, it is most commonly found on the feet and legs.
  • Impetigo is a mild infection that most often affects exposed skin such as arms, legs or the areas around the nose and mouth. Symptoms include red, itchy sores that break open and leak pus or a clear fluid.
  • Folliculitis is a common skin condition often caused by bacterial infection, where hair follicles become inflamed. Symptoms can include itchiness and tenderness in the enflamed area.
  • Staph infections are caused by staphylococcus bacteria, a bacteria commonly found in the nose and on the skin of many healthy people. Signs and symptoms of staph infection varies widely depending on the location on the body and severity of the infection.

Common Viral Skin Infections

As the name implies, viral skin infections are infections that are caused by a virus. Viral skin infections can range from severe to mild. The most common viruses come from one of three main groups of viruses: poxvirus, human papillomavirus, and herpes virus.

Some common pediatric viral skin infections include:

  • Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral skin infection that often affects children. Chickenpox caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It causes an itchy rash with small fluid-filled blisters.
  • Molluscum contagiosum is an infection caused by a poxvirus that results in a benign skin disease characterized by lesions. Typically, this resolves without scarring within 6-12 months.
  • Warts are a small, grainy growth tha toften occurs on your fingers and hands. Warts are caused by a virus and easily transmitted by touch.
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease is common in children 5 and under, but it can be transmitted to anybody. While it is not usually a serious condition, it spreads very quickly. Common symptoms include mouth sores, skin rash, fever and sore throat.

Common Fungal Skin Infections

Generally, fungal skin infections are most likely to develop in the damper parts of the body such as feet or armpits. Some fungal infections are not contagious and are typically non-life-threatening. 

Different types of fungal infections include:

  • Ringworm is a common skin infection caused by a fungus. It gets it's name from the circular, red and itchy rash that forms form the fungus.
  • Tinea versicolor interferes with the normal pigmentation of the skin causing small, discolored patches. They most commonly affect the trunk and shoulders and can cause the skin to be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.
  • Oral thrush is when candida albicans builds up on the lining of the mouth and causes overgrowth. These symptoms cause creamy white lesions, normally on the tongue or inner cheeks with the ability to spread throughout the mouth. Most commonly found in babies and older adults, this infection can affect anybody with a suppressed immune system or other contributing condition.  
  • Diaper rash is caused by candida and is most commonly found in children. Candida rash can occur when babies are not kept clean and dry, have frequent stools, diapers that are too tight among other things.

Common Parasitic Skin Infections

While a parasitic infection isn't life-threatening they are uncomfortable and cab become more serious if the infection spreads beyond the skin to the bloodstream and organs.

Different types of parasitic skin infections include:

  • Lice are small, wingless insects that feed on human blood and are spred from person to person through sharing of belongings and close contact. They cause intense itching that can lead to sores from scratching. 
  • Bedbugs are small, brownish insects that live on the blood of humans and animals. While their bites are initially painless, their bites later turn into itchy, uncomfortable welts.
  • Scabies is an infestation of the skin by sarcoptes scabieiei or the human itch mite. It burrows into the upper layer of the skin, laying eggs and causing intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash.

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