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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Overview of skin infections

Ngā Whakapokenga Kiri

Skin infections are common in people of all ages, but some are more common in children. They're caused by a germ such as a bacteria, virus, fungi or parasite.

Many skin infections are mild and easily managed, though some can be severe. They often start when your skin is broken due to something like a minor bite, graze, sting or burn. Skin conditions such as psoriasis, atopic eczema and dermatitis can also lead to broken skin.

There are four main types of skin infection.


Common bacterial skin infections are cellulitis, impetigo, Staphylococcus and MRSA.


Viral skin infections include chickenpox, measles, hand, foot and mouth disease, shingles and molluscum contagiosum.


Fungal skin infections are very common and generally mild. The most common one is tinea, which usually occurs on your feet (particularly between your toes), upper thigh and groin. Tinea between your toes is also called athlete's foot. Other fungal skin infections include onychomycosis (a fungal nail infection) and ringworm.

A common fungus called candida, also called thrush can affect your mouth, where it’s called oral thrush. Women can get vaginal thrush.


Parasitic skin infections are a result of a parasite on your body such as lice, bedbugs and scabies.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2022.


See also:

Toenail problems

Vaginal thrush (candida)

Page reference: 49791

Review key: HISNI-49791