Eight Contagious Skin Conditions To Avoid
We all know about contagious infections, for example the flu, the common cold, measles and other viral and bacterial diseases. Most of these are spread by contact with the infected individual or by breathing in the same air that an infected person has exhaled. Here is a list of eight skin conditions or diseases that can be spread from one person to another.
1. Body lice
Body lice are small insects that need a human host to complete their life cycle. There are at least two species of lice, head lice and pubic lice. Therefore, lice can be found on the scalp hair and pubic hair. Both species of lice are spread primarily by contact with a person who has lice, or by sharing a comb or brush with someone who has lice. Lice are very contagious and are diagnosed by seeing the actual insect in the hair, or by finding the eggs on the hair shaft. Lice are treated by applying an insecticide on the affected area and usually all household contacts are treated at the same time.
Scabies are small, microscopic insects that burrow into the skin. They are so small, they require a microscope to be able to see them. Scabies are transmitted from one human to another and are not caught from a dog, cat or other animal. The transmission of scabies from one person to another requires very close physical contact such as sleeping in the same bed. Scabies mites are usually found on the wrists, ankles and waistline. They are definitively diagnosed by an experienced dermatologist who can identify a burrow, scrape it and examine the scraping for the scabies mite itself or an egg. Scabies are treated by applying a cream and leaving it on overnight. Household contacts are usually treated at the same time.
3. Methcillin resistant staphyloccus aureus (MRSA)
Methcillin resistant Staphyloccus aureus better known as MRSA (pronounced “mur-sa”) is a contagious bacterial skin infection. First seen mainly in hospital patients, it has now become widespread in the community as well. MRSA is resistant to many typical antibiotics which have been used in the past to cure Staphyloccal infections making it a feared skin infection. Transmission requires contact with someone who has MRSA. MRSA appears as painful tender boils on the skin. Treatment requires drainage of the boils and use of antibiotics known to have activity against the MRSA bacteria. Frequently hand washing when around someone with MRSA is critical to avoid contracting MRSA.
Impetigo is very closely related to MRSA . It is also a Staphylococcal bacterial infection producing an erosive skin rash with the very characteristic honey yellow crust. Again seen mainly in the pediatric population and very contagious, it requires oral and topical antibiotics to cure it.
5. Molluscum contagiosum
Molluscum contagiosum is an infection of the skin stems from the virus. As the name implies, it is very contagious and is seen most frequently in the pediatric population. Transmission of the molluscum virus can occur with skin to skin contact, sharing of towels, or if the person infected with molluscum scratches one of the lesions then touches or scratches an uninfected individual. Treatment is usually carried out by destroying the small bumps on the skin caused by the infection.
6. Measles, varicella (Chicken pox) and other viral rashes
Many childhood viruses are contagious. Many, however we are now immunized against. Adults and particularly pregnant women who have not had or are not sure if they have had these illnesses should avoid children or other adults who have them.
7. Sexually transmitted diseases
Many sexually transmitted diseases, especially if they are associated with a skin rash, are contagious. The most notable of these is perhaps herpes simplex, but syphilis and genital warts are also spread by skin to skin contact. Prevention is to practice safe sex and to avoid coming in contact with someone who has one of these conditions. The herpes virus also causes cold sores and can be spread from person to person by close physical contact.
8. Common warts and fungal infections
It is technically possible to spread common warts and fungal infections from person to person. However, direct contact of the wart or fungus on one person with a broken area of skin on another person is required and even then may not occur. Therefore, most warts and fungal infections are thought to be contracted from the environment and not another person.There are several skin conditions that can be transmitted from person to person. Avoidance of physical contact with another person who has a contagious skin condition is important to prevent getting the condition. Many of these conditions or infections can be treated but informing others that you have a contagious skin condition will help to prevent them from getting the condition.