Skin infections can be caused by virus, bacteria or fungus. They are contagious and must be treated. Get an appointment for a dermatology consultation with Dr Joyce Lim
Viral Skin Infections
Viral warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), that infects the outer layer of skin. It is seen as a raised, rough bump or flat growth. It commonly occurs on the hands and feet, but may infect any part of the body.
Genital warts are transmitted by sexual contact. The average incubation period is three months, although they can develop anywhere within three weeks to eight months of exposure. The warts typically occur around the genital areas, the anus and the urinary passageways. Warts may initially be painless and not cause any symptoms so patients may not be aware that they are infected. Some HPV can cause cancer. Young women and some males should have vaccination against the HPV virus
Treatment of viral warts
- Vaccination against HPV
- Topical prescription medication
- Laser therapy
- Intralesional immunotherapy
Herpes simplex infection is caused by the herpes simples virus (HSV) It appears as a group of blisters and pustules. There may be tingling, burning or itching before the blisters appear. The blisters can be seen anywhere on the body and commonly around the mouth, nose and genital. Once infected the virus remains within the skin and tend to reactivate from time to time. Usually the infection clears up within 1-2 weeks
Treatment of herpes simplex
- Topical or oral antiviral medication
Herpes zoster (Shingles) is due to reactivation of the varicella-zoster (chicken pox) virus. It starts as pain or burning on one side of the face or body and in a few days a rash with blisters is seen. The rash clears away after a few weeks. Some patients may continue to have pain after the rash clears
Treatment of herpes zoster
- Topical and oral antiviral medications.
Common Bacteria skin infections seen in our clinic
Impetigo is a superficial bacterial skin infection commonly seen in children. Impetigo is seen as red sores on the face, nose, mouth, hands and limbs which burst to form yellowish-brown crusts.
Abscess is a red painful skin lump seen usually on the face, neck, axilla, breasts, buttocks and genital It grows bigger, become softer and often burst to discharge pus.
Cellulitis is a bacteria infection that has spread deeper into the skin tissue. It is seen as an area of redness, swelling and pain. It is often seen among the elderly and in patients with diabetes
Treatment of bacteria skin infection
- Swab to culture the bacteria
- Good skin hygiene
- Topical, oral, injection or intravenous antibiotics depending on the severity of the infection
Fungal Skin Infection
Tinea versicolor or fungal white spots is a superficial fungal infection commonly seen on the body, upper arms and thighs. Tinea versicolor is seen as faint white spots with some scaling. Sometimes tinea versicolour may presents as brown or salmon pink patches. They are common and usually increased with sweating, or in a warm and moist environment. Even with treatment recurrence is common
Ringworm is a fungal skin infection characterised by scaly, red patches often with a raised circular border, the ring. It can affect the scalp, the body and the nails. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection affecting the toe webs and skin of the feet.
Treatment of fungal infection
- Good skin hygiene
- Topical or oral antifungal
- Prevention treatment with antifungal shampoo, or powder
- Culture for more resistant infections