Skin and skin-structure infections caused by susceptible bacteria

What is a Skin and Skin Structure Infection (SSSI)?

A skin and skin structure infection (SSSI) is an infection of the layers of skin and tissue beneath the skin. It is usually caused by bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes, that are capable of invading the skin layer. Depending on the type of bacteria and severity of infection, the areas affected could range from mild rashes to deep-rooted abscesses, boils, or cellulitis.

Symptoms of SSSI

The symptoms of SSSI vary depending on the type of infection and its severity. Generally, the affected area may appear red, swollen, warm, tender, and may contain pus. Other signs and symptoms may include fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, and nausea. In some cases, the area may turn into an abscess or boil.

Treatment of SSSI

Treatment of SSSI infections depends on the type and severity of infection. If it is a mild infection, such as a rash or boil, it can be treated with over-the-counter medications such as ointments or antiseptic creams and lotions. For more serious infections, antibiotics may be prescribed to fight the bacteria and stop the spread of the infection. In cases of severe or deep-rooted infection, a doctor may need to perform minor surgery to remove the infected tissue.

Prevention of SSSI

The best way to prevent SSSI infections is to practice good hygiene, including washing hands often and cleaning and protecting cuts and scrapes with an antiseptic solution or antibiotic ointment. In addition, people who have diabetes or a weakened immune system should take extra precautions to avoid contact with bacteria or other sources of infection.

Additional Tips for Preventing SSSI

  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered.
  • Do not share items such as towels, razors, and nail clippers with others.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes and shower shoes when going to public showers, pools, or locker rooms.
  • Avoid contact with others who have an active infection.
  • Have regular check-ups with your doctor and follow their instructions for wound and skin care.