Skin and soft tissue infections in the elderly

Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2023 Apr 1;36(2):102-108. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000907. Epub 2023 Jan 25.


Purpose of review: To highlight the peculiarity of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) in elderly patients and to provide useful elements for their optimal management.

Recent findings: In the COVID-19 era, early discharge from the hospital and implementation of outpatient management is of key importance.

Summary: Elderly patients are at high risk of SSTIs due to several factors, including presence of multiple comorbidities and skin factors predisposing to infections. Clinical presentation may be atypical and some signs of severity, such as fever and increase in C-reactive protein, may be absent or aspecific in this patients population. An appropriate diagnosis of SSTIs in the elderly is crucial to avoid antibiotic overtreatment. Further studies should explore factors associated with bacterial superinfections in patients with pressure ulcers or lower limb erythema. Since several risk factors for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may coexist in elderly patients, these subjects should be carefully screened for MRSA risk factors and those with high risk of resistant etiology should receive early antibiotic therapy active against MRSA. Physicians should aim to several objectives, including clinical cure, patient safety, early discharge and return to community. SSTIs in the elderly may be managed using long-acting antibiotics, but clinical follow-up is needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • COVID-19*
  • Community-Acquired Infections* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus*
  • Soft Tissue Infections* / diagnosis
  • Soft Tissue Infections* / drug therapy
  • Soft Tissue Infections* / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections* / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections* / drug therapy


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents