Infection Treatment

Skin infections are a prevalent medical issue that can affect individuals of all ages and backgrounds. They are typically caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites infiltrating the skin's protective barrier.

Impetigo is often found in children, it forms crusty sores around the nose and mouth.

Cellulitis affects deeper skin layers, causing redness, pain and swelling.

Folliculitis is an infection of hair follicles, leading to small pimple-like bumps.

Herpes Simplex causes cold sores or genital herpes.

Chickenpox (Varicella) is characterized by itchy blisters and fever.

Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is a painful rash with a distribution on one side and one area of the body.

Athlete's Foot occurs on the feet, causing itching, peeling, and redness.

Ringworm causes circular, red, and scaly patches on the skin.

Yeast Infections often affect skin folds, causing itching and rashes.

Scabies is caused by tiny mites burrowing into the skin, leading to intense itching.

Lice (Pediculosis) is an infestation on the scalp, body, or pubic area.

Symptoms of skin infections can vary depending on the type and severity but may include:

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Redness and inflammation

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Pain or tenderness

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Itching or burning

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Pustules or sores

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Crusting or scaling

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Fever or malaise

The appearance of a skin infection depends on its type, but they can often be mistaken for other skin conditions or allergies.

For example, impetigo may resemble a cold sore, while fungal infections might look like eczema or psoriasis.

Skin infections are caused by microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites and can enter through:

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Cuts or Abrasions

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Broken or Compromised Skin

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Poor Hygiene

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Contact with Contaminated Objects or Individuals

Telemedicine has made dermatological diagnosis more accessible. Patients can consult dermatologists remotely using video calls or via photographs. Through telemedicine, patients can share clear photos of skin issues for assessment, and provide detailed information about symptoms, duration, and any relevant medical history. Dermatologists can conduct a visual examination and make a diagnosis.

Treatment options depend on the type and severity of the infection:

Antibiotics are typically prescribed for bacterial infections.

Antiviral medications are used for viral infections.

Antifungal creams can be effective against fungal infections.

Topical or oral medications may be used depending on the condition's severity.

While professional medical treatment is essential, you can also take some steps at home to soothe skin infections.

1. Keep the affected area clean and dry.

2. Avoid scratching to prevent further irritation.

3. Apply over-the-counter creams for symptom relief.

4. Use cold compresses to reduce swelling and discomfort.

After initial treatment, it's crucial to follow up with your dermatologist. Some skin infections may require long-term management or monitoring to prevent recurrences or complications.

To prevent the spread of skin infections:

1. Practice good hand hygiene

2. Avoid sharing personal items like towels and razors

3. Keep skin clean and dry, especially in skin folds

4. Vaccination (e.g., for chickenpox or HPV) can prevent some viral infections

5. Be cautious in public places (e.g., locker rooms) to prevent fungal infections

Includes but not limited to: 

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Topical Antibiotics (Mupirocin)

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Oral Antibiotics (Cephalexin, Doxycycline)

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A board-certified Dermatologist is a medical doctor (MD or DO) that has completed 4 years of medical school as well as 1 year of internship and a minimum of 3 years of dermatology residency. They are the experts in over 3,000 conditions affecting hair, skin, and nails. They can see patients of all ages and are able to address medical, surgical, and cosmetic concerns.
Most people see a Dermatologist once yearly for an overall skin check. If there is a personal or family history of skin cancers, abnormal moles, or other conditions such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis, the frequency of visits can be increased.
Dermatologists recommend performing a once-monthly self-skin examination to check for new or changing spots. You should examine all aspects of your skin, using mirrors or a partner as needed. Do not forget to try to examine your scalp, look between fingers and toes, check the bottoms of your feet, and examine the groin area. Please have any new or changing lesions examined by a Dermatologist to determine if any treatments are needed.
UV damage is the biggest skin aging culprit. Daily sun protection measures (even in the winter) is the best preventative step. Avoiding smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, other drugs, staying hydrated, and eating a well-balanced diet can all have positive anti-aging effects as well.
Topical vitamin A products (retinols, retinoids) are the overall most effective topicals for addressing skin aging concerns such as loss of elasticity, fine lines, skin texture changes, and dyspigmentation. There are various over-the-counter products and prescription products that contain these active ingredients. People with very sensitive skin can sometimes have a more difficult time tolerating these topicals as they can be irritating to the skin.
Classic signs of skin infection include redness, swelling, and pain. Occasionally there can be drainage or crusting noted, especially with superficial skin infections. It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish these issues from inflammation in the skin without infection, so it is important to seek care from a board-certified dermatologist if you are experiencing these skin issues.
The two most common causes of skin infections are Staph and Strep bacteria. Some strains of these bacteria are found on normal skin and can occasionally cause issues if there is damage to the skin. In other instances, there are strains that are more likely to cause infection when they encounter skin that has had a cut, scrape, bite, or other trauma. Impetigo is the term for a superficial skin infection where only the top layers of skin are infected. Cellulitis is when deeper layers of skin are infected and this can spread deeper and make you sick overall.
If you believe you have a mild, superficial skin infection, you should use soap and water to cleanse the area and you can apply a thin layer of a topical antibiotic ointment. Polysporin is preferred over Neosporin as it has less of a chance of causing an allergic reaction on the skin. Any signs of worsening skin infection or development of fevers, chills, or other systemic symptoms should prompt you to seek medical attention.
Worsening or spreading of redness, swelling, and pain, drainage of pus, increasing wound size, and development of fevers or chills can be signs of worsening skin infection and should prompt medical evaluation.
Deeper skin infections can damage underlying tissue and make that area more susceptible to repeat infection in the future. Some patients also "carry” strains of bacteria on their skin that are more prone to causing infections and can be a source of recurrent infection. Be sure to discuss treatment options to try to reduce the risk of repeat infections in the future.
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