Bacterial skin infections can affect anyone at any age but imposes the highest risk when there is a break in the skin. Most bacterial skin infections occur as a result of a cut, scrape or puncture which leaves the skin open for bacteria to enter the body and cause infection.
People who have certain medical conditions are at a greater risk of contracting bacterial skin infections. These include:
Diabetes: Poor blood circulation and elevated blood sugar levels prevent the white blood cells from effectively fighting the infection.
(HIV) or AIDS: These viruses as well as other immune disorders weaken the immune system and render the body virtually helpless in fighting off bacteria and infection.
Obesity: Having a large amount of skin can make it harder to maintain proper hygiene, especially in areas with large skin folds where bacterial skin infections most often occur. This accompanied by excessive perspiration puts obese individuals at a high risk of contracting bacterial skin infections.
Risks of Common bacterial skin infections
Cellulitis infects the deep layers of the skin and most commonly occurs on the legs and arms. People who work with meats and poultry and don`t wear proper gloves are at a high risk of contracting cellulitis. Other risk factors include athlete’s foot, improper steroid injection, eczema, pregnancy, and skin conditions that prevent proper blood flow such as varicose veins.
Folliculitis and furuncles*(boils) are an infection of the hair follicle, commonly affects people who wear tight clothing, have been exposed to contaminated water in a hot tub or pool, and who sweat excessively. Men with beards are also at risk.
Impetigo is one of the more contagious bacterial skin infections and can occur at any age but most often affects infants and children. Direct contact with an infected person or sharing infected clothing or linens can increase your chances of getting impeigo.
While there are many factors that can lead to bacterial skin infection it is important to understand that any break in the skin including cuts, burns, or even bug bites, can create a doorway for bacteria to enter and grow. Protecting yourself from infection includes maintaining proper hygiene such as keeping wounds clean and thoroughly washing your hands. Also, be extra careful in environments that require sharing hygiene facilities such as dormitories or public washrooms.