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Impetigo - Symptoms & Treatment


Impetigo is caused by staphylococcus bacteria or rarely by the streptococcus. It is a highly dangerous skin infection which is common in all ages. Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria. It is most common in children and is contagious. Impetigo forms round, crusted, oozing spots that grow larger day by day. The hands and face are the favorite locations for impetigo, but it often appears on other parts of the body. Impetigo isn't dangerous but it is an extremely contagious illness.

Symptoms of Impetigo

Impetigo that is caused by staphylococcus aureus triggers larger fluid-containing blisters that appear clear, then cloudy. The thin yellow fluid that drains from the ruptured blisters quickly dries forming a honey-colored crust. Impetigo develops most frequently on the legs, but may also be found on the arms, face and trunk. There is usually no fever. A person with impetigo is probably no longer infectious after 24 hours of adequate antibiotic treatment. Without treatment, a person may be infectious for several weeks. These blisters are more likely to stay intact longer on the skin without bursting.

Causes of Impetigo

It is generally caused by one of two bacteria: group A streptococcus or staphylococcus aureus. Impetigo first appears as a small scratch or itchy patch of eczema - skin inflammation - on seemingly healthy skin.

Some of the causes of Impetigo are as below:

  • Children and adolescents suffering from eczema ( atopic dermatitis ) are especially likely to develop impetigo.
  • While the bacteria causing impetigo may have been caught from someone else with impetigo or boils, impetigo usually begins out of the blue without any apparent source of infection.

Home Treatment and other treatment options for Impetigo

Antibiotics taken by mouth usually clear up impetigo in four or five days. It's important for the antibiotic to be taken faithfully until the prescribed supply is completely used up. An antibiotic ointment, such as Polysporin, should be applied thinly four times daily. Polysporin can be purchased without a prescription.

Crusts should be removed before the ointment is applied. Soak a soft, clean cloth in a mixture of one-half cup of white vinegar and a quart of lukewarm water. Press this cloth on the crusts for 10-15 minutes three or four times daily. Then gently wipe off the crusts and apply a little antibiotic ointment. You can stop soaking the impetigo when crusts no longer form. When the skin is healed, stop the antibiotic ointment.

Prevention tips

The prevention tips are below :

  • Impetigo is contagious when there is crusting or oozing. While it's contagious, take the following precautions:
    • Patients should avoid close contact with other people.
    • Children should be kept home from school until the lesions crust over.
    • Use separate towels for the patient. The patient's towels, pillowcases, and sheets should be changed after the first day of treatment. His or her clothing should be changed and laundered daily for the first two days.
  • Usually the contagious period ends within two days after treatment starts. If the impetigo doesn't heal in one week, please return for another evaluation.
  • Make sure that anyone in your family with impetigo keeps his or her fingernails cut short and that the impetigo sores are covered with gauze and tape.

 

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