What Are Skin and Soft Tissue Infections?

Skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) can affect the outer skin, fascia (sheaths of connective tissue), muscle and other tissue of the body. SSTIs range from uncomplicated infections that are easily treated to complicated infections that require surgical intervention and may even be life threatening.

Uncomplicated infections include:

  • Cellulitis (a bacterial infection affecting the skin and tissue beneath the skin, such as otitis externa, or swimmer’s ear)
  • Impetigo (a highly contagious infection that usually affects children)
  • Abscess (a painful lump that’s filled with pus)
  • Folliculitis (an infected hair follicle)
  • Minor infections in wounds

Complicated infections include:

  • Infected burns
  • Deep, infected wounds
  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Necrotizing fasciitis (a rapidly spreading inflammation that kills tissue)
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection (a staph infection that is resistant to the usual antibiotics)