3 Skin Conditions You Shouldn’t Ignore

Medically reviewed by Dr. Phil Mitchell MD, MS on November 27th, 2019

woman with swollen feet

Skin conditions are emotional snowballs that can do a number on your self-esteem. In fact, many who suffer from a skin condition choose to ignore the issue altogether, isolating themselves both mentally and physically rather than sharing their mark with someone who can help. Unfortunately, hiding or ignoring your skin condition can worsen the issue tenfold. As the body’s largest and most exposed organ, the skin is susceptible to a wide range of infections. Temporary or permanent, if you are experiencing a skin condition that is uncomfortable, it’s important to have it checked out. Stick around as we review the three skin conditions you shouldn’t ignore and the importance of seeking medical treatment for them.

Severe Skin Infections

Your skin is designed to shield your body from infection. This heroic act, however, is not without its disadvantages; sometimes the skin itself becomes infected. Skin infections are caused by a wide variety of environmental conditions and germs, including different bacterium, viruses, and fungi. While mild skin infections are very treatable, if ignored, they can become life threatening—often requiring immediate medical attention. Those at higher risk of contracting skin infections—children and the elderly—should be particularly cautious when dealing with skin irritations, as they can quickly develop into severe conditions. Two of the most dangerous skin infections include:

  • Cellulitis. Due to the natural aging process, seniors are at higher risk of contracting skin infections; one of the most popular is cellulitis. This infection affects the deepest layer of skin, as well as the layer of fat found just underneath the skin. This results in a very painful infection that can cause swelling, redness, and various other forms of skin irritations. If left untreated, this skin condition can lead to blood infections—critically impairing your wellbeing. 
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is a form of staph infection that is difficult to treat due to its resistance to antibiotics. First appearing as small bumps that can look like razor burn or inflamed cysts, this skin infection can eventually evolve into deep and painful abscesses. If left untreated, MRSA infections can cause sepsis, pneumonia, and bloodstream infections. 

If you’re experiencing painful swelling around an open, irritated wound for a prolonged period of time, don’t ignore the symptoms! Skin infections may seem minor at first, but they can pack a punch and quickly escalate into larger health issues. 

Pressure Ulcers & Abscesses

Pressure ulcers, or bedsores, and abscesses can develop quickly, especially for at-risk individuals. Those most at risk of developing bedsores are people who suffer from a physical disability or medical condition that confines movement. Common sites for abscesses and pressure sores include:

  • Shoulder blades
  • The spine
  • Sides of the head
  • The tailbone, hip, or lower back
  • Backs of arms and legs
  • Heels, ankles, and the skin behind the knees

While bedsores range in severity, if left untreated, deep pressure ulcers may require surgery. In fact, it’s common for a pressure ulcer to appear like a mild, surface-level infection, when in reality it’s much deeper—this is called a “Suspected Deep Tissue Injury” (SDTI). This can be extremely dangerous, as the sore may be causing tissue or ligament damage without your knowledge. That’s why it’s so important to seek prompt medical attention for your pressure ulcers.

Lacerations & Deep Abrasions

Clumsy or not, scrapes and booboos are a part of life. And, while not all wounds are created equal, they all have the potential to transform into severe skin infections. That being said, deep lacerations and abrasions are two skin conditions that should never be ignored. No matter how many bandages you slap on your injury, laceration and abrasion wounds can quickly become infected if not properly treated. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Abrasions occur when your skin tissue is torn; scrapes and scuffs fall into this category. These wounds are typically painful and will almost always start bleeding immediately. While minor abrasions can be sterilized at home with soapy water and topical antiseptic, certain deep abrasions may require prompt medical treatment. Healthcare professionals have access to the tools required to thoroughly sterilize the site, as well as inspect for deeper injuries below the skin’s surface.
  • Lacerations are cuts and gashes that result from blunt or penetrating trama. If your laceration is deep, penetrating through the fatty layer of skin or muscle, it can cause significant damage to tendons and nerves. To prevent infection, these types of wounds require medical care—stitches or staples—to help keep the wound closed and protected as it heals.

How to avoid the risk, cost and discomfort of a hospital visit

If you’re dealing with any of the above-listed skin conditions, don’t wait until they are extremely uncomfortable to seek medical care. Finding transportation while catering to a skin infection, pressure ulcer, or deep laceration, however, can be problematic and extremely stressful. That’s where DispatchHealth can help. We take care of patients at home where they are most comfortable so they recover faster and with less cost than a hospital visit. Our on-demand medical teams arrive at your doorstep with most of the healthcare equipment found at traditional emergency rooms. Conveniently requested via phone, mobile app, or on the website, our comprehensive services allow us to diagnose, treat, and prescribe antibiotics for a wide variety of severe skin conditions—including those mentioned in this article. What’s more, we’re available seven days a week, 365 days a year including holidays, making us the ideal choice for urgent medical care. 

When it comes to addressing severe skin conditions, procrastination is never the answer. Contact DispatchHealth today to learn more about our on-demand healthcare services. 

Sources

DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies. 

Sources referenced in this article: 

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/healthy-mind-healthy-skin/201610/psychological-and-emotional-aspects-skin-conditions
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/skin-infection#types
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/community/index.html 
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bed-sores/symptoms-causes/syc-20355893
  5. https://www.fishertitus.org/health/abrasion-vs.-laceration-wounds
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About the Author
DispatchHealth Staff The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.