Contagious Skin Diseases can have three major causes. If you'd like to explore those caused by viruses, visit the skin disease photos page, where we show pictures of these diseases as well as give you basic information about them.
The next major cause of these diseases is bacterial, and a third major cause is fungal. If you're interested in discovering more about these types of skin diseases as well as seeing pictures of them, you've come to the right place. Dive in...
Bacterial Infections don't cause as many skin diseases as viral infections, but there are at least two that fall in this category. They are:
Scarlet Fever - This skin rash is actually caused by a toxin released by
the same bacteria that causes strep throat. It was a major cause of
death before antibiotics were widely used. It causes a rash that usually
lasts about a week along with a fever and sore throat.
It can usually be diagnosed by a throat culture, and should always be treated with antibiotics to avoid complications.
If it is left untreated, further complications can develop such as rheumatic heart disease, meningitis, ear infections, sinus infections, pneumonia, or generalized "sepsis" (blood poisoning) which frequently results in death.
When treated with antibiotics, the infection is usually cured within ten days, but it may take a few weeks before lymph node swelling goes down.
Impetigo- Is a skin infection caused by either staph or strep bacteria.
It usually affects small children the most, but children of any age may be infected, particularly if they play contact sports. It is characterized by fluid filled blisters that ooze and then crust over with a yellowish looking scab. It is very contagious.
There are two major types. The first is less serious and only affects the upper layer of skin. It is known as Bullous Impetigo. It usually affects children under the age of two.
The second is known as Ecthyma Impetigo. It penetrates into the dermis of the skin, and can cause ulcers, followed by scarring.
Both types are usually treated with antibiotic creams. The more serious type is also sometimes treated with oral antibiotics. A more natural treatment is hydrogen peroxide, or a cream containing a 1% hydrogen peroxide mix.
It is spread by direct contact, or some people can carry the bacteria in their nose. It isn't contagious to unbroken healthy skin, but if there is a cut, or rash, the bacteria may cause impetigo there.
There are two major contagious skin diseases caused by fungi, one is more frequent in children, and the other in teens and adults. They are:
It is spread by people walking bare foot in places where others with the infection have walked. It usually infects people's feet, but it can also infect other areas of the body, such as the groin area. When it spreads to the groin it is usually referred to as "jock itch".
If you get athlete's foot you'll know you have it because the skin of your feet with start to flake, scale off, and itch all the time. You may also develop blisters and cracks in your skin, especially between the toes.
Of course, that will hurt, swell, and cause inflammation.
Keeping your feet dry and well ventilated will help, but you will probably need to use anti-fungal medicines to get rid of the infection once you have it.
It can be treated with the same types of medicines used to treat ringworm. Either topical anti-fungal creams, or anti-fungal medications taken internally should enable healing from this condition.
Although there are far more skin diseases caused by viruses than by other infectious agents, those covered on this page can be quite serious if not treated effectively.
But, if you are interested in those caused by viruses, you'll want to visit the skin disease photos page, where we cover them in depth.
It is important to be able to recognize the symptoms of these diseases so you don't ignore them instead of getting the necessary treatment to speed healing.
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