Summer Infections and Cellulitis
Look out for Skin Infections this Summer!
Friday, 12 January 2007, 11:02 am
Press Release: Well Child Look out for Skin Infections this Summer!
January 12, 2007
In recent years hospitalisations for the treatment of serious skin infections have been increasing in New Zealand and none more so than during summer when children are prone to grazes, cuts and insect bites.
Dr Teuila Percival, a paediatrician at Kidz First Children’s Hospital, sees first-hand the effects of serious skin infections which have been left untreated.
“We see a lot of skin infections at Kidz First with cellulitis being the most common. It affects all ages, both children and adults and is an infection that comes on very rapidly,” says Dr Percival.
Serious skin infections like cellulitis (an acute bacterial infection of the soft tissues of the skin) and abscesses (a cavity containing pus, which may also incorporate cellulitis), are largely cause by bacteria that gets past the protective layer of skin.
A skin infection may simply start out as a mosquito bite that the child then scratches. Bacteria can enter the skin causing an infection. If left untreated, complications can arise.
It’s a good thing most skin infections are preventable, or easily treated if detected early. Untreated skin infections can affect your blood, kidneys, bones, joints, lymph nodes and brain, and sometimes people need to be hospitalised for treatment. Deeper abscesses can form in the lungs, kidneys, joints, muscles, bone and brain.
What puts children at risk of skin infections?
Children are more at risk when living in an environment where bacteria are passed easily from person to person. This may happen in over-crowded houses where some amenities are lacking, for example, hot water, washing machine or drier, first aid supplies, linen and towels; or when there is poor access to adequate nutrition and medical care.
Children who have eczema and other breaks in the skin are more susceptible to skin infections. 90% of sufferers already carry the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus on their skin, and the dryness, cracking, itching and scratching that eczema causes, increases the chance of the bacteria breaking through the skin.