Impetigo involves reddened sores that open, drain fluid and develop yellowish-brown crusts. It is a bacterial skin infection that can develop on any part of the body.
The condition is one of the prevalent skin issues among children but can develop among adults as well. Impetigo is highly contagious and readily spreads to others via close contact or sharing of items such as sheets, towels, toys or clothing. In addition, scratching can also spread the sores to other parts of the body.
What are the causes?
Impetigo is brought about by either staphylococcus or streptococcus. Oftentimes, the bacteria enter the body if the skin was already irritated or damaged due to other skin conditions such as eczema, wounds, insect bites, burns or reactions to poison ivy. Children might develop the condition after having common cold or allergies that make the skin below the nose raw. On the other hand, impetigo can still develop even on healthy skin.
One might be suspected with impetigo if he/she has sores that:
- Start as small-sized, reddened spots that turn to blisters that later open. The sores are not painful but can be itchy.
- Drain fluid and appear crusty
- Grow bigger and increase in numbers. The sores might be small as a pimple or even bigger than a coin.
Impetigo is managed using antibiotics. For mild cases, the doctor might prescribe an antibiotic cream or ointment to dab on the sores. As for serious cases, oral antibiotics are prescribed.
Children can return to school after 24 hours of treatment. If the ointment or pills are taken as directed, most of the sores fully heal in a week.
While at home, carefully wash the sores using clean water daily. In case crusts develop, the doctor might provide instructions on how to soften or eliminate the crusts. This can be done by drenching in warm water and pat them dry.
As much as possible, avoid scratching the sores since it can spread the infection to other parts of the body. It is best to keep the fingernails short and wrap the sores with a loose bandage.