What are the worst skin diseases?

Many would have dealt with a skin disease or condition at some point in their life. Most of these conditions can be treated effectively at home. While there is a slew of benign skin issues that might be bothersome or unpleasant, they don’t always require emergency treatment.

Certain skin conditions however require urgent attention. Dermatological crises are uncommon, but if not identified and treated promptly, they can lead to serious consequences which could be lethal. Some skin diseases necessitate treatment in a hospital’s critical care unit.

Below are some of the worst skin diseases to be aware of, as well as information on how to recognise them.

Necrotising fasciitis

Necrotising fasciitis is an infection that severely affects not only the skin but also the tissue beneath the skin as well as the fascia. This disease could then result in necrosis (tissue death).

If the infection isn’t diagnosed and treated quickly, it could spread to other parts of the body and may prove to be fatal. Organ failure and toxic shock are very common, especially if it is not treated promptly.

The disease is usually caused by the entry of bacteria into the body either through a ruptured internal organ or an external injury. The bacteria that cause “strep throat,” known as Group A streptococci, are one of the most prevalent causes.

The symptoms are similar to other infections that are less severe and they are therefore often overlooked. The initial site of infection would be inflamed, red, and painful. This then develops into blistering, odorous, and dark regions which indicates tissue death. Fever, severe aches and low blood pressure are among the other symptoms.

Diabetes, vascular diseases, trauma, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication usage as well as the abuse of alcohol and intravenous drugs are the most significant risk factors for necrotising fasciitis.

Treatments for necrotising fasciitis include surgical excision of the dead tissue, as well as intravenous antibiotics. Intensive care is also frequently required for patients. The risk of death is reduced when shock along with other complications are managed properly. Immune therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy may also be necessary.


DRESS Syndrome

Drug response with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms syndrome or DRESS syndrome for short is a hypersensitivity reaction that severely affects the skin as well as other internal organs.

Fever, extensive rashes, swollen lymph nodes, and damage to the internal organs, such as the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, heart, or pancreas are all possible symptoms. Symptoms generally appear 2 to 8 weeks after taking the causative medication.

The fatality rate is reported to be around 10% to 20%, with liver failure being the most common cause of death.

Anticonvulsants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics, and synthetic antibiotics called sulfa antibiotics are among the most common drugs which lead to DRESS syndrome.

The reaction associated with DRESS syndrome happens due to a pre-existing genetic mutation in the immune system, inciting diseases (typically viral infections) and an ineffective breakdown of drugs.

The importance of early detection is vital to prevent the disease from developing into something more severe.  If the organs are affected, more extensive treatment may be required.


Scalded skin syndrome

Scalded skin syndrome is a severe skin infection that is relatively rare. This disease usually affects newborns, children as well as individuals with a compromised immune system or who are suffering from renal failure.

Toxins generated by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which is frequent in the throat, ear, and eye infections are responsible for causing this disease.

These bacteria, which are present on the skin may be transferred unintentionally into places such as nurseries or childcare centres. As children have a weaker immunity towards certain toxins, they are more susceptible to these bacteria and are at increased risk of developing scalded skin syndrome.

Scalded skin syndrome typically can be identified by the appearance of a blistering, reddish rash that resembles burns. Blisters would then develop throughout the body within 48 hours, and large sections of the skin may peel away with just a minor touch,

Redness of the skin, fever and skin discomfort are typical early signs. Other possible symptoms include conjunctivitis and sore throat.

Scalded skin syndrome necessitates admission to the hospital for treatment through intravenous antibiotics and wound care. Blisters that have ruptured would have to be dressed, and the surface of the skin would require intensive care to prevent any additional damage.

Treatment is essential to prevent severe sepsis.  Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when chemicals are released into the blood to fight off an infection, and in doing do induce inflammatory responses which can be fatal.

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