What are bacterial infections?
Bacteria are part of our every day lives. These organisms can cause many types of infections, including infections of the skin. The possibility of developing a bacterial skin infection is much higher if the surface of the skin is damaged, either by a wound or even intense scratching.
People who have medical conditions such as diabetes, AIDS or skin damage from rashes or sunburns, may also be more susceptible to bacterial infections. Many different types of bacteria can enter through the skin.
Some common types of bacterial skin infections include:
Cellulitis. This is an infection beneath the skin's surface that can occur after a break in the skin, such as a surgical incision, cut, wound or insect bite. Those at risk for cellulitis include people who have weak immune systems or who expose their skin to bacteria (commonly those who handle fish, meat, poultry or soil) without protection such as gloves.
Folliculitis. This is an inflammation of the hair follicles. Improperly treated pools or hot tubs, shaving, tight clothing, and bacteria from nearby scrapes and cuts can all cause folliculitis.
Furuncles and carbuncles. These are also infected hair follicles, but are usually much deeper. These red, pus-filled bumps are called furuncles (boils) when only one is present or carbuncles when they form in groups.
Impetigo. This bacterial skin infection can develop if you have a cut or an insect bite, but it also can occur in previously healthy skin. It is marked by sores and usually occurs in young children, though adults can contract impetigo if there is a wound or cut on the skin.