Impetigo is a very common and highly contagious skin condition that most often strikes young children and infants. The sores that are associated with Impetigo appear normally on the face (mostly on the mouth and nose areas) in young kids and the diaper area of infants.
Impetigo is thought to be the result of exposure to one of the two specific bacterias; Streptococcus Pyogenes and Staphylococcus Aureus. When it comes to the treatment plan of Impetigo it really depends on which of the two the doctor determines is causing it. There are several different types of Impetigo, but for this article we will only talk about three of them; Impetigo Contagiosa, Bullous Impetigo and Ecthyma.
Impetigo Contagiosa – This is the most common type of Impetigo and the sores (blisters) generally are found on the nose and mouth. Impetigo is highly contagious.
Bullous Impetigo – Normally affects children under two years old and the sores tend to last longer than other types of Impetigo.
Ecthyma – This is commonly thought to be the most serious since it affects deeper into the skin and the sores are painful.
There are a number of different, but distinctive symptoms and they vary greatly depending on which one of the three types they were exposed to. Below is a short list of each of the symptoms:
– Sores on the mouth and nose
– Sores burst and get crusted over
– Swollen lymph nodes
– Blisters appear torso, arms and legs
– Clear appearance and turns cloudy
Ecthyma (most serious type)
– Effects the second layer of skin
– Painful blistering
– Open, ulcer sores
– Swollen lymph nodes
– Scarring is likely
The main cause of Impetigo, is exposure to one of the two known bacterias that cause it; Streptococcus Pyogenes and Staphylococcus Aureus. This exposure can come in a number of ways and below is a short list of some of the common ways;
– Direct skin to skin contact with a person who is currently infected with Impetigo
– Handling things that a person with Impetigo came in contact with such as; bedding, towels and clothing
– Injury to the skin
– Insect bites
– Animal bites
When it comes to diagnosing Impetigo the family doctor generally discovers it during a physical examination. To determine which of the two bacterias are responsible, the doctor will prepare a culture by swabbing the sores and sending it off to the lab for testing. The treatment comes in the form of an antibiotic depending on which of the bacterias are found to be the cause.
As with any contagious infection this disease is highly opportunistic and it is easily spread by children who often spend time at a daycare or school environment. This is because kids often share toys and other items which can easily be exposed by a child with sores.
The best way to prevent the spread of Impetigo is limit skin to skin contact by keeping the sores covered with a light dressing. There are a number of over the counter ointments that can be applied to the scabbed areas.
All natural alternatives are available as well using vinegar and water in a 1 to 32 ratio of vinegar to water.