There are all kinds of skin infections and rashes that can occur during a person's lifetime. From contact skin allergies that occur whenever certain metals, chemicals or plant materials come into contact with the body, to those that are caused by bacteria and are highly contagious, it can be quite confusing to tell the difference between them all, let alone whether they are infectious or benign. Consulting a doctor is the first step to take towards alleviating the skin conditions and could mean the difference between curing it, or at least keeping it from spreading.
The Difference between Skin Infections and Rashes
A rash is often a change in the condition of the skin, usually in its appearance or texture. It can be restricted to only one part of the body or it could affect larger areas. A skin rash can cause the skin to become discolored, warmer, drier, crack, blister or develop distinct bumps or itchy skin. If a skin infection is to occur, the rash will be what will break down the skin, and overcome the immunity system, allowing the infection free reign to develop.
When symptoms like pain, swelling, warmth or redness begins to occur in an area thought to be a rash, it is most likely developing some type of skin infections. Other symptoms can include discernible red streaks extending out from the affected area, sometimes an indication of blood poisoning. Pus can begin draining from the affected area, and may or may not be infectious itself. It is definitely a bacterial infection of some kind if the lymph nodes become swollen, or a fever and chills develop without any other known cause.
The actual treatment applied to these conditions will depend on the exact condition that exists, and this can only be determined by a thorough examination of the affected area. Some rashes, like acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, hives and rosacea will often appear and disappear without cause or apparent reason. Most treatment options will involve antibiotic creams, or oral antibiotics, that may simply cause them to go into remission for a while, but not keep them from returning.
Other types, like infectious rashes can be treated effectively and will then go away. A lot of the typical childhood diseases like measles and chicken pox fall into this category, and are contagious enough that they can be spread to other people. Immunizations, backed up with the proper treatment will prevent them from recurring but may not eliminate the child as a carrier. Any child can develop the disease, but never show any symptoms at all and still be able to spread it throughout their classroom within a week.
The best way to prevent the development of any skin infections and rashes is to practice a lot of the same preventive measures that should be done in times of flu and colds. Washing hands properly and often will help prevent development and the spread of the most common skin infections. For those that may be an allergic reaction to a substance, like plant materials, doctor's care is the best route, because some can be a lifelong condition.
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