Infections at Work
August 28, 2017 8:24 PM   Subscribe

Since taking an antibiotic for an infection after some dental work, I've noticed that old skin discoloration around cuts and scrapes on my ankles are clearing up. I've had these blotches on my legs for at least a couple years but I noticed soon after starting the medicine, they began to fade.

Is it possible to have a low level infection for months or even years and, though not affected enough to feel bad, things like minor discoloration around cuts and bruises showed a bacteria was at work somehow? How many people are walking around with the same kind of thing where it shows up as small but pervasive indicators on their bodies?
posted by CollectiveMind to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
But I recall in a recent program on bacteria that some bacteria live peacefully not only on the surface skin cells (which is normal), but also some layers down. Not down enough to cause an immune response but probably enough to show some skin effects. This is like how bacteria behind acne is always there, but only causes reactions in certain cases.

Antibiotics can work on a variety of bacteria so it isn't too unusual in my non medical opinion.
posted by Bodrik at 9:16 PM on August 28, 2017

I, also, ANAD but I had a low level of infection that was causing a lot of itchiness. Antibiotics helped me.
posted by kerf at 9:43 PM on August 28, 2017

FWIW my father had a skin condition that caused some red blotches and mild intermittent inflammation for years. They gave him various topical creams. Then he had something more serious and got hit with full-strength antibiotics; skin problem gone at once, completely and apparently permanently.

He's pretty annoyed about not having had serious antibiotics earlier.
posted by Segundus at 2:31 AM on August 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

nth-ing the anecdata - I had a rash around my eyes that I thought was caused by makeup...I stopped wearing makeup (and went through weeks of coworkers saying I looked tired) but the rash persisted. I went to the dermatologist's office...the Physician Assistant took 15 minutes asking me questions and looking closely at the rash.

She then told me it was probably a stress rash, and said that even though it wasn't an infection, antibiotics would help. She said that they don't totally understand exactly why antibiotics help with inflammation, but it's well-documented to be effective. I'm one of those folks who tries to be sparing with antibiotics but having a rash very visibly on my face was enough for me to give it a go. She gave me both oral and topical antibiotics.

It worked like a dream! I think I remember the oral antibiotics seeming to work better than the topical ones, but regardless, I was so relieved.

I've also heard medical professionals say that laypeople often get 'inflammation' and 'infection' confused, that we don't always understand that they are different. Inflamed doesn't mean infected. I'm not a medical professional, but that might be a good question to start with as you gather more professional opinions.
posted by leemleem at 11:09 AM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

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