Skin infections are an unfortunate malady that may accompany aging. Once infections set in, they can be quite painful and difficult to control. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help avoid skin infections in the first place — and encourage them to heal quickly.

What are skin infections — and what causes them?

Male legs with skin infection

A skin infection happens when the skin has been compromised and bacteria sets in. This can happen for a variety of reasons, and it can be one of many types of bacteria responsible for the infection. As the skin breaks down and the bacteria sets up shop, you’ll see the infection begin to grow.

Unfortunately, these infections usually start small and grow gradually. They can be caused by everyday events, including sitting too long and minor abrasions. You’ll find they’re frequently easy to miss. By the time they’re noticed, your loved one may need a serious treatment plan.

Reducing the likelihood of skin infections

The great news is that there are steps you can take to reduce the occurrence of skin infections. The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure your loved one is up to date on medical care and that there are no underlying medical conditions. Skin infections can sometimes be secondary to a more significant health concern, such as diabetes.

With a clean bill of health, you’re ready to prevent skin infections from setting in. Ensure your loved one is getting plenty of exercise and doesn’t spend an extended amount of time in a single place or position. You should also keep track of any unusual changes or behaviors. Extreme itching, lesions, and skin color changes can all indicate there’s an infection in the works.

Good hygiene can also go along way to keeping skin healthy. Your loved one should be bathing on a regular basis and washing their hands frequently to prevent the transfer of germs. If you feel their ability to maintain an appropriate level of cleanliness has been compromised, it may be time to consider enlisting some professional help.

How to treat skin infections

Skin infections in the elderly population should always be considered serious enough to need the assistance of a medical professional. Many require a prescription drug to resolve, like some bacterial or fungal infections. For the quickest, safest healing time, make an appointment to see your care provider and follow their treatment plan.

While the skin is healing, and as a preventative measure, avoid the use of overly hot water during showers. Consider switching to a sensitive soap and opt to use gentle cleaners. Talk with a doctor about on-going environmental changes you might be able to make to improve skin condition. They may suggest introducing a humidifier to help skin stay moist and prevent cracking that can later become infected.

Have more questions or need more help navigating skin infections? The compassionate staff at Haym Salomon Home for Nursing & Rehabilitation in Brooklyn is ready to help you and provide the care your loved one needs and deserves. Contact us to discuss your particular needs and put a course of action in place.

This content comprises informative and educational resources only and can not be considered as a substitute for professional health or medical guidance. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk. If you have any inquiries or apprehensions about your medical condition or health goals, talk with a licensed physician or healthcare provider.