Skin Infections Bacterial and Fungal

There are four different types of skin infections bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic.

Bacterial infections include cellulitis, folliculitis, boils and carbuncles, staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome and other minor bacterial skin infections. Fungal infections of the skin include candidiasis (yeast infections), ringworm and tinea versicolor.

Bacterial Skin Infections

Your skin is a barrier that is supposes to protect you from bacteria, but bacteria can normally be found living on the skin of healthy individuals. A break in the skin can change this scenario from a harmless one, to one in which the individual can become ill.

Individuals with certain conditions have a higher risk for contracting bacterial skin infections. Those at a higher risk include those with diabetes, those who have AIDS and those who have damaged skin from sunburn or scratching.


Cellulitis is one type of bacterial skin infection. It can spread from the upper layer of skin to the dermis and is characterized by swelling and tenderness at the site of the infection. There are many causes for these types of infections including animal bites, or injuries sustained while in the water.

Symptoms to watch out for with cellulitis are swelling, tenderness, bruising, blistering, headache, fever and skin that is reddened and warm to the touch over the affected area. Only a physician can correctly diagnose cellulitis. Treatment may include antibiotics, elevating the affected area, and also cool, wet dressings.


Boils, carbuncles and follicullitis are all infections found mostly on the neck, face, breasts and buttock regions. Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicle, and boils are tender, swollen areas that can form around hair follicles.

Carbuncles are clusters of boils. Some symptoms of these infections are damaged hair, irritated or red follicles and pus in the hair follicles.

Boil symptoms are a white or bloody discharge or pus coming from a boil. If you have carbuncles you will feel ill and possibly have a fever. Treatment for these infections includes moist heat to help drain the boil and oral antibiotics. It takes longer for carbuncles to heal than for a single boil to heal.

Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome

Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome is a skin infection that includes peeling skin and can affect infants, young children and individuals who have depressed immune systems. The symptoms are an infection site usually on the nose or ears that is red, and painful.

There may be blisters. The individual may have a fever or be experiencing chills and weakness. The top layer of the skin will begin to peel in sheets. The skin loss will initiate fluid loss, fever, chills and weakness.

Other bacterial infections include erythrasma, impetigo and paronychia.

Fungal Skin Infections:

You will find fungi living on your body in moist areas like the toes, breasts and groin. Symptoms of a fungal infection may include itching, swelling, blisters, and scaling.

Yeast Infections

Candidiasis or yeast infection is usually harmless occurring in the digestive system or the vaginal area. Those who have depressed immune systems are susceptible to these infections.

If you have the infection in the folds of your skin or in the naval you may experience itching, burning, a rash or patches of rough skin that ooze white fluid. If you have this infection in your vagina you may have itching, burning or redness in the external area of the vagina.

You can also get this infection on the underside of the penis where there may be redness, scaling or a painful rash. In the mouth this infection is call thrush and can be detected by seeing white patches on the tongue or side of the mouth that are painful.

Perleche are cracks and tiny cuts at the corners of the mouth. You can also get fungal infections in the nail beds that will cause swelling, pus, pain and even separation of the nail from the skin.


Ringworm is a fungal infection that looks like a ring is red and scaly. Persons who are malnourished, have poor hygiene or have had contact with someone with ringworm are at increased risk for ringworm. Athlete’s foot is ringworm, so is jock itch and scalp ringworm.

Tinea versicolor are patches of skin that are lighter or darker than the normal skin tone and occur mostly in adolescence or early adulthood. These patches become worse in the heat and humidity or when the individual are on steroid therapy or in individuals who have weakened immune systems.

Photo. E. Coli bacteria. NIAID

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