How Bacterial Skin Infections are Diagnosed

There are many types of bacterial skin infections. They are usually caused by two different types of bacteria. The first type is staphylococcus and the second is streptococcus.

Not all bacteria is dangerous. There is bacteria everywhere we go. It is always trying to create problems on the skin and other parts of the body. A person with a healthy immune system usually is not affected by normal everyday bacteria. Those people with a weakened immune system need to be more careful when coming in contact with an affected person.

The best way to diagnose a bacterial skin infection is to start by giving your doctor your family history. This will help determine if the infection may be hereditary. Then the doctor should ask questions about when and how the infection started. This can help to determine what caused the infection. Then, the doctor may want to perform skin tests on the affected area. There are a few different types of tests they may perform.

Skin Culture

A skin culture is a test that is performed to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection. It is performed by obtaining a tissue specimen from the affected area. This can be done by scraping the outer layer of the skin with a sterile instrument. The specimen is then placed into a container with a substance called a growth medium or a culture medium and sent to a lab for testing. Once the cause of the infection is found, then a treatment can be provided.

Skin Biopsy

A skin biopsy is performed by removing part of the lesion by using a punch or a razor blade. Once the specimen has been removed, it is also placed into a sterile contained and sent to the lab for testing. After a diagnosis has been achieved, then a treatment can be provided.

Different types of bacteria grow at their own speed, so some specimens may take weeks to determine what it is. In these cases, many doctors will give a treatment based upon what they think the infection is so the subject is not suffering. Then, once the lab testing is done, the results will determine if the treatment was satisfactory. If the treatment was not, then the doctor should make another diagnoses and re-treat the infection.


There are many different types of treatment for the infection. Some can be taken orally while others are topical, or placed on the skin. Topical creams are usually very effective in treating the skin because they are placed directly on the wound. Oral medications need to enter the blood stream before any kind of relief can be achieved. Depending on the severity of the infection, no treatment may be needed. Your doctor will be able to decide the best treatment for the infection.

There are many different types of bacterial skin infections. The treatments and diagnoses can vary from one person to another. The only person that can diagnosis and decide on the best treatment for you is your doctor. If you do experience a skin infection, talk to your doctor before it gets too bad.

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