What is Impetigo and its causes?
Impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection caused by streptococcal and staphylococcal bacteria. It is characterized by red sores on the face, arms, and legs, and can be painful and itchy. The sores may ooze pus, form blisters, and may become crusty. Impetigo is most common in children, but can affect people of all ages.
Impetigo is usually spread through direct contact with the infected skin, or through contact with items such as towels, clothing, and toys that have come into contact with the infected skin. People who have skin conditions such as eczema or cuts and scrapes may be more likely to develop impetigo.
The most common cause of impetigo is the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria is often found on the skin and does not normally cause any harm. However, if the skin is irritated or broken, the bacteria can enter the body and cause an infection. Strep bacteria may also cause impetigo, though this is less common.
Symptoms of Impetigo
Impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection that can cause a great deal of discomfort and irritation. It is caused by bacteria and is most common in children. Symptoms of impetigo include a red rash, blisters, and crusting of the skin. These symptoms can appear on any area of the body, but are most commonly found on the face, arms, and legs.
The first symptom of impetigo is typically a red rash that appears on the skin. This rash may be itchy and can be accompanied by blisters. The blisters can be filled with either clear or yellowish fluid. The rash may also be surrounded by red skin that is swollen and may cause pain.
As the condition progresses, the blisters will burst and become crusted over. This is why impetigo is sometimes referred to as “crusty skin” or “scaly skin.” The crusts may be yellow, brown, or red and can be painful or itchy.
In addition to the visible symptoms, impetigo can also cause fever and fatigue. If left untreated, impetigo can cause complications such as scarring, cellulitis, and even sepsis.
If you or your child is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Impetigo is highly contagious and can be spread through contact with an infected person or object. For this reason, it is important to keep the infected area clean and covered with a bandage. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the infection more quickly.
Treatment for Impetigo
• Topical Antibiotics: Topical antibiotics such as mupirocin are commonly prescribed for mild to moderate cases of impetigo. These antibiotics can be applied directly to the affected area and should be used for as long as prescribed by a doctor.
• Oral Antibiotics: Oral antibiotics can be prescribed for more severe cases of impetigo or when topical antibiotics are not effective.
• Antiseptics: Antiseptics can be used to reduce the risk of impetigo spreading and to reduce the itching and burning associated with the condition.
• Antihistamines: Antihistamines are sometimes prescribed to reduce the itching associated with impetigo.
• Steroids: Steroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain associated with impetigo.
• Home Remedies: Home remedies such as keeping the area clean and dry, avoiding scratching, and using lotions can help reduce symptoms and prevent the spread of impetigo.
Prevention of Impetigo
• Good Hygiene: Good hygiene is the key to preventing impetigo. This includes washing hands frequently, avoiding sharing of towels, and keeping cuts and scrapes clean and covered.
• Avoid Contact with Others: To prevent impetigo from spreading, it is important to avoid contact with others who may have the condition. This includes avoiding touching or sharing items that may have come into contact with the infected area.
• Vaccination: Vaccination is an important part of preventing impetigo. Vaccines are available for some of the bacteria that cause impetigo, such as streptococcus, staphylococcus, and Haemophilus influenzae.