Bacterial Infections More Than Just Skin Deep

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They say that “beauty is skin deep“. Yet, the continuous growth in the cosmetic industry proves that an increasing number of people are really taking effort, time and money to invest on having healthy skin. While it used to be only women who are conscious of their looks, some men nowadays, particularly the younger generation and the so-called metrosexuals, have become advocates of male skin-care.

However, some people who are absorbed in their busy lifestyles have no more time left for indulging in skin care. Economy also plays a great part in deciding if people would refrain from getting skin care services advertised by media.

Those who do not give attention to skin care are often surprised to see skin blemishes and other imperfections. They see that their skin is no longer as supple as that of a baby and has become thinner and wrinkled with age. The feel of their skin is drier due to less oil production from the sebaceous glands and the decrease in the number of blood vessels has made the skin lackluster and without youthful glow.

Is this just a case of vanity? Or there is something more to skin-care than meets the eye?

Bacterial Skin Infections

Skin care, to be sure, is not just about beauty. It is about hygiene and safety. Unknown to many, all human beings, whether healthy or not, probably have some Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on their skin. These bacteria, simply called staph, are usually found in your nose or throat and may not really cause much problems except for minor skin infections.

The skin serves as the body’s first barrier against these bacterial infections. This is why it is important to have healthy skin in order to ward off bacterial infections. Once the skin is broken, cut or wounded, you are at risk for infection. Once these bacteria gets to burrow deeper into your skin and penetrates your body into the bloodstream, urinary tract, lungs, and heart, these seemingly harmless bacteria can become life-threatening.

History showed that most cases of fatal staph infections in the past have occurred in people who have been in the hospital or those who are suffering from chronic illness and faltering immune system. However, recent development proves that an increasing number of otherwise healthy people who have never been in a hospital are also acquiring these lethal staph infections.

Moreover, the usually powerful antibiotics are no longer as highly effective as it used to in fighting against certain strain of these destructive bacteria. Most staph infections are still manageable and can be successfully treated. But sooner or later, there will come a time that a new and deadlier strain of these bacterial infections will become resistant to most currently available medications.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of bacterial infections depends on the condition and affected area of the infection as well as the nature of illness if it is a direct infection from staph bacteria or from toxins produced by the bacteria.

They may range from mild skin infections to food poisoning, deadly pneumonia, surgical wound infections, and endocarditis which is a lethal inflammation of the heart valves. Most skin infections caused by staph infections include the following:

Boils – also called skin abscess, usually begins as a reddened, sore area which hardens over time. At the center of this abscess is a collection of white-blood cells, bacteria, and proteins known as “pus”. Boils are usually infected hair follicles and can be seen in areas of bttocks, armpits, neck, inner thighs where small hairs are irritated.

Cellulitis – is an infection involving the tissues below the surface of the skin which makes it inflamed and tender that may cause fever. It can affect any parts of the body but is commonly on the face and legs.

Impetigo – a superficial skin infection or rash that is most common in young children and infants but may also affect teens and adults. Affected skin areas are the face, hands and feet. These pimple-like blisters may not cause fever but is usually very itchy and may be spread to other parts of the body through scratching.

Scalded skin syndrome – is a severe blistering condition that affects newborn infants.

Follicilitis – is an infection of the hair follicles in the form of small white-headed pimples at the base of the hair strands usually occurs when people shave or have irritated skin from rubbing against certain clothing.

Hordeolum – also referred as stye, is a swelling near the edge of the eyelid as the glands at the base of the eyelash become obstructed. Stye is uncomfortable and can be painful.

Most skin problems would require clinical care by medical professionals but it helps to take note of the following tips:

Make sure to always clean and cover areas of skin that have been injured. Do not share towels, sheets, clothing until the infection has been fully healed. Do not touch to avoid spreading it to other parts of your body.

There are several practical ways to prevent infections from happening, thus, staying disease-free. Simple regular hand washing with soap and water before meals, after coughing and sneezing, after using the toilet can rid you of most germs. In the absence of soap and water, there are alcohol-based hand-sanitizing gels that are available for protection. Medicines such as anti-parasitic drugs can protect you from getting malaria while travelling. Over-the-counter drugs such as antibiotic creams can minimize infections due to minor cuts and injuries.

Always remember that cleanliness and good skin care hygiene is not just a form of vanity but it is a way of keeping your skin healthy and strong to be able to protect you in warding off bacterial infections as well as preventing many skin problems.

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