A Complete Guide to Using Antibiotics for Skin Infections

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The critical role of our skin is often overlooked. Our skin is not only the most significant human organ but may also be the most underrated and underappreciated. However, the skin may become infected when damaged, inflamed, or irritated. If left untreated, these skin diseases can weaken the skin’s ability to provide adequate protection, and infectious agents may spread throughout the body leading to serious systemic illness. This article will explore the various types of skin infections, their causes, and their symptoms. In addition, we will highlight the antibiotics for skin infections in this article.

Skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) are among the most common ailments driving patients to seek medical treatment. A 2005 study reported that SSTIs were the reason for roughly 14.2 million outpatient visits and over 850,000 hospital admissions annually.

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Antibiotics For Skin Infection

While mild skin diseases are irritating and unsightly, they often clear up with careful cleaning, protection, and time. However, even the most favorable of infections can spread or worsen quickly. If a skin disease fails to heal or worsens, you may require topical or oral antibiotics.

It is vital to consult with a health professional to understand the cause of skin disease and the appropriate treatment to prevent the condition from worsening, spreading to other areas of the body, or being transmitted to other people.

Can Antibiotics Treat Skin Infections

As with most infections, particularly bacterial infections, antibiotics can be one of the most efficient means of controlling and treating the infection; most skin diseases respond well to treatment using topical antibiotics.

However, more severe infections, infections that have caused secondary skin damage, or those at risk of spreading to other body systems, may require a course of oral antibiotics to be fully resolved.

In addition, in severe but rare cases, untreated skin diseases can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream, leading to a life-threatening medical emergency that may require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotic treatment.

The Best Antibiotics For Skin Infections

The best antibiotic for treating skin diseases will differ depending on the organism causing the infections. Most bacterial skin infections respond well to treatment with topical or oral antibiotics.

However, skin diseases caused by more resistant strains of bacteria are becoming more common, requiring more potent antibiotic varieties.

Antibiotics are occasionally used to treat secondary bacterial skin conditions resulting from viral skin diseases. However, anti-viral drugs are required to eliminate the underlying viral source of the original condition.

In addition, parasitic and fungal infections are treated by using topical agents to eliminate the invading fungus or parasite.

Antibiotic-Resistant Skin Infections

As mentioned briefly above, the antibiotic resistance of some skin diseases is becoming a more frequent problem. Bacteria are living organisms that evolve to adapt and thrive in their environments.

Antibiotic use has become more common to address many health and wellness concerns. Bacteria have evolved defenses to withstand the assault of the most widely used antibiotics.

This has led to an increase in antibiotic-resistant skin diseases. An antibiotic-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus, commonly referred to as methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus, or MRSA, has emerged in recent years and has spread widely to become the most common bacteria strain behind the majority of SSTIs seen today.

This is a significant concern in the healthcare industry. As bacteria evolve and become resistant to the various antibiotics available, stronger and more potent antibiotics must be used to treat infections.

Unfortunately, these powerful antibiotics are often accompanied by more substantial potential side effects and can be difficult to tolerate for some patients.

Additionally, as bacteria continue to evolve defenses against the antibiotics used to destroy them, there is a genuine concern that soon, bacteria will evolve beyond the scope of the current antibiotics that exist to treat infections.

Therefore, scientists are working to develop new methods and formulations for combatting bacteria to avoid a scenario where we are rendered defenseless against a bacteria that has evolved to withstand all of the current antibiotics available today.

What Are The Best Oral Antibiotics For Skin Infection?

Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes are two of the most common strains of bacteria responsible for most skin diseases requiring treatment. Both Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes

In recent years, a resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus, known as community-acquired methicillin-resistant S aureus (CA-MRSA), has developed, creating the need to explore new avenues of antibiotic treatment regimens capable of combatting this antibiotic-resistant bacteria strain.

Today, studies estimate that CA-MRSA is the dominant bacteria behind 45% to 75% of SSTIs seen in clinics and hospitals.

Before the endemic spread of CA-MRSA, most skin diseases were treated using commonly prescribed penicillin-based antibiotics like Cephalexin.

These antibiotics effectively combat both Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus pyogenes bacterias which were sensitive to methicilin treatment.

Prescribing professionals are more likely to recommend treatment with Clindamycin or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) as these antibiotics have proven effective in resolving CA-MRSA infections. Tetracyclines may also be used to aid in resolving antibiotic-resistant or severe conditions.

A medical professional will evaluate the patient’s history and the symptoms they are experiencing to aid in determining the best course of treatment to resolve the patient’s skin disease.

In some cases, your doctor may require a culture of the infected area to help determine what strain of bacteria is causing the infection. For instance, your doctor may have to recommend oral antibiotics to get cellulitis treated.

Cultures are generally non-invasive and non-painful. The medical professional will use a swab or other collection device to collect a small amount of the purulent material or surface cells at the injection site. This sample will then be tested to determine the dominant bacteria causing the infection.

Skin Disease Care & Treatment

Suppose you suspect that you may be suffering from a skin disease. In that case, it is crucial to seek professional medical advice to determine the proper course of treatment to resolve the infection quickly before it can affect other parts of the body.

A medical professional will evaluate your symptoms and review your medical history to determine the appropriate course of treatment. The healthcare provider may need to culture the infected area to determine the exact variety of bacteria causing the infection.

In most instances, your healthcare provider will likely prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic therapy to treat the disease.

If prescribed an oral antibiotic therapy, it is vital that you take it exactly as prescribed and complete the whole course of treatment, even though you will likely begin to feel much better after just a few doses.

Follow the advice of your healthcare professional closely, and you should be feeling better in a short while.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Skin diseases can have many different causes, and it is vital to pinpoint the exact cause to determine the best way to heal the condition.

Some of the causes include:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal infections
  • Viral infections

You can also get skin diseases from animal bites or human bites.

There are many causes of skin disease, and anyone can contract skin or soft tissue infections for several reasons. That being said, some factors can make contracting a skin disease more likely, and increase the likelihood that a mild skin disease may develop into a more serious matter.

Common risk factors that may increase the likelihood or severity of skin or soft tissue infections:

  • Any pre-existing condition which produces chronic swelling of the extremities
  • An injury that breaks or significantly damages the protective layers of the skin
  • Fungal infections that cause intense itching, such as athlete’s foot or ringworm
  • Skin conditions such as Psoriasis and Eczema cause chronic irritation
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

The content on Doctor Alexa’s blog is reviewed by Advanced practice registered nurses or pharmacist and is intended for educational purposes only. This information should not be relied upon as professional medical counsel. Be sure to always consult with your physician about the dangers and benefits of any medication, treatment or procedure.

You shouldn’t wait to see the doctor for simple health needs.