Bacterial Skin Infections

bacterial skin infections


  • It is caused by infection/inflammation of hair follicles
  • It causes red bumps(papules) with yellow heads (pustules)
  • Itching is common
  • HIV causes non infectious ( immune-eosinophilic) folliculitis
  • Causes & treatment:
  • Staphylococcus (most common)—>Antibacterial washes+- Topical and or oral antibiotics (Bactrim or Clinda)
  • Klebsiella (prolonged Acne treatment complication)—>Ampicillin or Cipro
  • Pseudomonas (hot tub)—>self limited,may use Cipro
  • Yeast (Malassezia)—>topical antifungal
  • Mite (Demodex)—> causes Rosacea like rash—>Permethrin

Abscesses and Boils

  • These are deeper skin and soft tissue infections
  • The simple folliculitis can progress to form deeper and larger pocket of infection we call Furuncle or Boil.
  • Boils are usually surrounded by a rim of irritated inflamed skin and are quite painful
  • Boils or Furuncles can coalesce to form a larger infection (Carbuncle) with multiple draining tracts.
  • Carbuncles can be associated with fever and malaise
  • The most common cause is Staph Aureus
  • The primary treatment is incision and drainage
  • Oral anti Staph antibiotic is recommended for severe infections with fever in addition to incision and drainage
Abscesses and Boils


  • It is caused by either Staph or Strep
  • It is a superficial skin infection usually seen in children in the face area characterized by redness and honey color crusting
  • Bullous impetigo is less common , is caused by Staph releasing a toxin that damages the skin causing flaccid blisters
  • If the skin ulcerate the lesion is called Ecthyma
  • Treatment is cleaning the skin with soap and water to remove the crust +- topical antibiotics +- oral antibiotics


  • It is a superficial, non pus producing, spreading infection
  • It is usually caused by Strep or Staph
  • Risk factors are trauma, ulcers, poor circulation, diabetes or leg swelling
  • Erysipelas is superficial cellulitis usually affecting the face.


  • Mild: oral antibiotics
  • Severe: IV antibiotics and if necrotizing—>surgical consultation