These infections must be candidates for one of the most distressing and embarrassing conditions that can befall humans.
Skin eating parasites can also be known as 'flesh eating parasites.'
The worst of these parasites is contracted as a result of a bite by a sand fly, this parasite burrows into the skin where it lays its eggs and then remains to multiply and devastate the surrounding tissue. If untreated it can lead toloss of sight and eventually to an excruciating death.
There are various common forms of the parasite that infect the skin that can be picked up by contact with human sufferers, animals, plants or simply by proximity to an unclean environment or lack of personal hygiene.
These more prevalent skin parasites cause itching and discomfort that range from mild to acute and often accompanied by unsightly sores, some can even cause patches of permanent baldness.
Although the more severe skin eating parasites are infections that principally emanate from the tropics, where the sand fly is common, they have been found in more temperate climates, though fortunately only rarely.
At times we all give ourselves a good scratch because of some insect bite or minor itch, but if the itchy area spreads and particularly if outbreaks of small reddish bumps appear on the skin, then some form of treatment will be required.
In the less severe cases it is possible to get over the counter creams and lotions, such as calamine lotion, that will sooth and clear the problem.
At the same time, up your personal hygiene regime, change your underwear frequently, wash your bedclothes, check out your pets and their bedding and have your carpets, rugs, sofas etc., cleaned.
If the infection still persists then get medical advice, a dermatologist will have a more specialised knowledge of skin parasites than you can expect from a GP, but any qualified advice is better than none at all.
The extreme severity that some skin/flesh eating parasitic infections can cause, even in the fittest of people, is illustrated by the case of British television presenter Ben Fogle.
Ben is currently in the Antarctic with two colleagues preparing for a race to the South Pole.
He is known for being exceptionally fit having rowed across the Atlantic and is a regular marathon runner. He contracted a tropical skin eating parasite while filming in the Peruvian jungle.
The parasite caused an inch wide hole to break out on his forearm which if untreated would have spread across his body and led to his death.
His treatment at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London was described as having side effects similar to chemotherapy.
He was on an intravenous drip containing a toxic metal compound and underwent daily heart and blood tests. He looked in a bad way, walked slowly and in pain and was coughing.
Fortunately the extreme treatment was successful, he has returned to fitness and can take part in the grueling race.
It is important not to ignore the warning signs, particularly if you are staying, or have recently returned from a trip to a tropical country.
Even in the countries around the Mediterranean there are some nasty little parasites that attack and burrow under the skin, in many cases as a result of an unnoticed insect bite.