Our skin plays an important role in our overall health. It protects our body from infection. But the skin itself is also vulnerable to infection. Viruses, bacteria, and fungi are the main causes of several skin infections.
Examples of skin infections include:
― Athlete’s Foot
― Candidiasis (yeast infection)
― Staph Infections
Treatment of a skin infection depends on the cause and the severity. Many respond to medication, but some are harder to treat. It’s important to take precautions to avoid skin infections. Here are 7 basic tips you can follow to drastically decrease the likelihood of developing a skin infection.
Wash your hands frequently and vigorously
This may sound obvious, but many people just do the rinse-and-shake method after they use the bathroom, which doesn’t do much to kill germs. It’s important to lather up (with warm water if possible), scrub all surfaces vigorously for a good 20 seconds, and rinse well. Hand sanitizer works, too. As with water and soap, it’s important to rub the hand sanitizer on all surfaces of the hand. Air dry or dry with a paper towel.
Limit contact with public surfaces
This includes handrails, door handles, faucet handles. Obviously, you can’t avoid them completely, and that’s a good reason to wash your hands often. Germs and bacteria love shared bathroom towels. It’s best to avoid them. In public bathrooms, if possible, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door. Many public bathrooms have a garbage can near the door so you can toss your paper towel in after you open it.
Avoid contact with others’ potentially contaminated items
This means not sharing towels, washcloths, razors, deodorants, creams, or bar soaps. If you’re going to shower in a public location like the gym or the locker room, bring your own liquid soap.
Use your towel as a barrier
When you’re at the gym, use a clean towel as a barrier to sit on workout benches, sauna or steam room benches, and exercise equipment. And later, when you wash your towels, use hot water with detergent (and bleach if possible).
Disinfect shared equipment
Before you grab the rails on that treadmill or the handles on that exercise bike at the gym, wipe it down. Some gyms have disinfectant wipes that you can use for just that purpose. If not, bring your own. At the very least, wash your hands vigorously after your workout.
Cover open sores and wounds
Picking at your sores and leaving them uncovered increases the chances of bacteria entering the skin and causing an infection. Keep your sores and lesions completely covered and leave them alone.
Keep skin clean and dry
Change your socks and underwear daily. Change quickly out of wet, sweaty clothes. Take your shoes off at home to give your feet and your shoes a chance to air out. Also, wear sandals or shower shoes at public pools, and in gyms and locker rooms. These are the best way to avoid fungal skin infections.
But what if…?
If you think you might have a skin infection, see a doctor right away. You don’t want to risk spreading it to other parts of your body or to other people. It’s best to address any an infection early. Many common infections also have proven treatments, and your doctor will be able to help determine the right treatment for your infection. Additionally, if you have developed a skin infection, you may qualify for one of our clinical studies at Precision Research Institute in San Diego County. To learn about ailments in our current or future studies, browse our website or give us a call.