Impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection that affects infants and children. It manifests as red sores on the face especially around the nose, mouth, on the hands and feet of the child. When the sores burst, it develops a honey-colored crust. It also affects people playing contact sports such as wrestling.
Impetigo is caused by two kinds of bacteria such as streptococcus or staphylococcus. These bacteria enter an irritated or injured skin or insect bites, eczema, poison ivy rash, burns and cuts. Impetigo affects children after suffering from cold or allergies that make the skin under the nose raw, but it can also happen in a healthy skin.
Symptoms of impetigo
- Small red spots that develops into blisters that burst open. The sores do not cause pain but cause itchiness.
- Oozing fluid that develop into crusts later
- Increases in size and number. The sores are small as a pimple or larger than a coin.
Types of impetigo
- Non-bullous is the common type of the disorder – it forms tiny blisters that become red sores in the skin which are filled with yellow or honey-colored fluid. The sores burst and ooze pus for several days.
- Bullous impetigo – caused by the bacteria staphylococcus aureus. It develops large blisters that do not burst. The blisters can be found in the abdomen, chest and diaper area of babies and young children.
- Ecthyma – this is the most severe type of impetigo. It usually happens in the legs. The blisters are filled with pus and very deep into the skin and cause severe pain.
- Soak the area for easy removal of the scabs. Press a warm wet cloth on the affected area for at least a few minutes to soften them. Gently rub the area using a wet and soapy washcloth and rinse with water. Wash the used washcloth separately from other laundry to prevent spreading of the rash.
- Apply the prescribed antibiotic ointment on the affected area. Make sure that you have washed hands properly and wearing gloves before applying the ointment.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter oral antibiotic such as diclocacillin or cephalexin. If allergic to penicillin, take clindamycin or erythromycin.
- Avoid scratching the sores to prevent the condition from getting worse.
- Avoid exposure to other people while still contagious for at least 2 days after the start of treatment.
- Cover areas of the body affected by impetigo using a watertight dressing to prevent contamination.
- Frequent washing of hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds throughout the day must be observed. If water is not available, use a hand sanitizer that contain at least 60% alcohol.