South African Family Practice

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Superficial skin infections and the use of topical and systemic antibiotics in general practice

MH Motswaledi


Superficial bacterial infections of the skin are very common. With the increasing burden of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), this is likely to worsen. Examples of such infections include impetigo, erysipelas, cellulitis, ecthyma, furuncles, carbuncles and subcutaneous abscesses. Common causative organisms are staphylococci and streptococci. Generally, Staphylococcus aureus infections tend to spread locally, causing abscesses and carbuncles, while streptococci are apt to spread along tissue planes, and give rise to either cellulitis or erysipelas. However, this is not always the case. These infections cause a significant morbidity, and have to be diagnosed and treated promptly. Some result in serious complications. 

Keywords: superficial skin infections, topical and systemic antibiotics, impetigo, erysipelas, cellulitis, ecthyma, furuncles, carbuncles, subcutaneous abcesses
AJOL African Journals Online