Understanding Bacterial Skin Infections: Erysipeloid

In medical terminology, bacterial skin infections are also known as “Pyrodermas.” Such infections occur as a result of the growth of certain strains of bacteria in various parts of the human body. It may infect nose, mouth, throat, skin, genitals and other organs and can spread from one person to another through contact. Bacterial skin infections are manifested through skin lesions, boils, pustules, itching and such symptoms. Generally, these infections occur due to a weak immune system, contact with infected environmental factors, poor hygiene, injuries or abrasions of skin, overcrowded living conditions, smoking, drinking, exposure to moisture for a long time and residing in a highly infected area.

Types of Bacterial Skin Infections

There are Primary, Secondary and Other Skin infections caused by bacteria in human beings. This classification is done on the basis of colonization of bacteria and the type of disease. Impetigo, Folliculitis, Erysipeloid and Erythrasma are some of the commonly occurring primary skin infections.

Erysipeloid: An Introduction

Erysipeloid is an occupational disease found in people who handle the flesh of infected animals. A microorganism known as Erysipelothrix rusiopathiae is responsible for the Erysipeloid infection. It is a type of bacteria which causes an acute infection in skin and other organs. It generally spreads from infected poultry, fish, animals and shellfish products through direct touching. These bacteria can enter the body system through cut or abrasion. So, generally, cooks, butchers and fishermen are highly susceptible to this infection.

Symptoms of Erysipeloid Infection

This infection can be seen in three forms, namely: localized, diffuse cutaneous and severe systemic forms.

  • In localized form of this infection, it is seen in hands, forearms, finger webs or other exposed region of body. This infection is manifested through red to purple lesions with shiny smooth appearance,
  • In diffuse cutaneous form, it expands within few days with a curved or sharp border having tiny blisters. Such lesions are warm and soft to touch and it generates pain and burning sensation. These can be combined with chills, malaise and mild fever in certain people.
  • When the infection becomes severe, it may spread to different parts of the body. That is, it develops into a systemic form and infects other organs like brain, heart, lungs and joints. In such severe conditions, the infected person may not be able to notice lesions; however, he will suffer from a headache, fever, chills, joint pain and loss of weight.

Treatment for Erysipeloid

Although Erysipeloid can resolve on its own in 2 to 4 weeks, antibiotics may quicken the healing process and prevent the spreading of the infection. The commonly used antibiotic is penicillin. Erythromycin, rifampicin, tetracyclines or ciprofloxins are other common drugs used for its treatment. By treating the infection without any delay, potential complications can be avoided.

Word of Caution

Whenever signs and symptoms of bacterial infections are noticed, it is advisable to consult a physician immediately. Taking over-the-counter antibiotics may be harmful, and it may worsen the infection instead of healing it. Only physicians can diagnose the severity and prescribe the appropriate dosage of the medication. Hence, consult your physician for all types of bacterial infections instead of self-medicating.

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