There are different forms of bacterial skin infections that affect athletes. It is vital that you know how to identify these bacterial infections so that immediate treatment can be started.
Common forms of bacterial skin infections
Staph is one of the widely transmitted bacterial skin infections among athletes that can take on various forms such as the following:
- Folliculitis – this causes small-sized, white pustules within every single hair follicle. These are likely to grow on the scalp including the underarms and on the lower legs or thighs.
- Impetigo – these are reddened, scaly, rounded patches with scalloped perimeters and often covered with yellowish crust and can spread quickly over 24-48 hours. These patches usually appear on the lower face but can rapidly and easily spread to the torso and extremities.
- Carbuncles and furuncles – these are solitary abscesses that are often seen on the thighs and buttocks but also in other areas of the body.
In case the doctor suspects a bacterial skin infection due to staph, he/she might require a bacterial culture to rule out MRSA which is a serious form of staph infection that is highly resistant to commonly used antibiotics.
The treatment for staph infections involves oral antibiotics. Take note that carbuncles and furuncles might need incision and drainage that is followed by a regimen of oral antibiotics.
Methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA)
MRSA is a variant of staph that established resistance to commonly used antibiotics. Even though effective treatment is accessible, MRSA infections might be misdiagnosed initially as usual staph infection. This can extend the infection and allow it to further spread. It can take on the form of a solitary abscess that necessitates incision and drainage or appear as another form of infection including folliculitis and impetigo.
MRSA is considered difficult to clear up and often entails an extended and repeated therapy using antibiotics.