Impetigo is a common and contagious skin infection that primarily affects infants and children. The condition usually presents itself as red sores on the face, generally around a child’s nose, mouth, hands and feet.
Although contagious, impetigo is not a serious condition. The symptoms of impetigo will usually resolve on their own within 7 to 10 days with proper treatment.
Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria that spreads quickly. The wound caused by infection on the face of a person with impetigo is shaped like a blister and will burst, forming honey-colored crusts.
Blisters can appear anywhere, but they generally occur on exposed areas such as the face and hands. Another body part that is commonly affected by impetigo is the stomach.
Causes of Impetigo
A person can easily develop symptoms of impetigo once exposed to the impetigo-induced bacteria. This occurs when a healthy person comes into contact with an infected person.
The spread of bacteria through objects can also occur if the objects have been touched by impetigo sufferers.
The most common bacteria that cause impetigo are called staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Apart from causing impetigo, these bacteria can also trigger other health conditions.
The bacteria circulate everywhere and anywhere, especially on objects that have been touched by impetigo sufferers. Therefore, transmission to children most often occurs due to contact with an infected person.
A person can also develop impetigo if they wear the same clothes, or use the same bedding and towels as the infected person.
It is easier for a child to spread or transmit the bacteria if there is an open wound or new scratch on the child’s body. Through these wounds, bacteria can enter the body more quickly and cause infection.
When to See a Doctor for Impetigo?
Impetigo is a health condition that affects the skin. Therefore, once parents detect symptoms of impetigo in their children, they should consult a dermatologist immediately.
Before consulting with a dermatologist, parents can bring their child to be examined by a paediatrician. After it is confirmed that the child has impetigo, the paediatrician will refer the parents to a dermatology specialist.
When treating impetigo patients, the doctor will perform an analysis by looking at certain wounds on the child’s skin to provide a diagnosis.
Generally, there are no specific laboratory tests needed to detect symptoms of impetigo.
If the wound is difficult to locate, the doctor may need to prescribe further tests. The examination is carried out by taking a sample of fluid from around the child’s nose. The fluid will then be tested in the laboratory to see which type of antibiotic is most suitable for treating the child.
Some bacteria are resistant to certain antibiotic drugs. Therefore, this examination is required to determine the condition of the bacteria.
Examination with sampling may make the child feel uncomfortable, but the test itself does not cause any pain.
Symptoms of Impetigo
The symptoms of impetigo start with the appearance of a small group of blisters that will burst subsequently. After the bursting of blisters, the scar area becomes red, moist, and produces oozing fluid.
After a few days, the wounded area will appear golden with dark yellow crusts that resemble granules of brown sugar. The infection can continue to spread throughout the edges of the infected area or may affect other areas of the skin.
In some cases, sufferers of impetigo will also feel mild itching and aching around the infected area.
In bullous impetigo patients, the symptoms may be slightly different. This type of impetigo is a very rare type of impetigo. Symptoms include larger blisters that occur on areas of the child’s body.
There is a more severe type of impetigo, called ecthyma impetigo. This impetigo penetrates deeper into the layers of the skin. In this case, the wound will be painful and filled with fluid or pus that turns into a deep ulcer.
Parents are advised to take their child to the doctor immediately if they detect common symptoms of impetigo such as:
- A sore or rash that gets worse and is uncomfortable.
- Small, pus-filled sores with brownish skin. This condition shows signs of impetigo ecthyma that have penetrated deeper into the deeper layers of the skin. If not treated immediately, this condition will cause permanent tissue changes in skin pigmentation.
Treatment for Impetigo
The primary treatment for impetigo is to maintain personal hygiene as well as the hygiene of the environment around you. Once the infection has occurred, immediate treatment will help relieve symptoms more quickly.
Patients with impetigo do not always have to undergo special treatment in a hospital or get a specific prescription from a doctor. This condition usually resolves on its own within seven to ten days. However, to ensure that healing can occur, the patient must maintain regular, good hygiene.
The key step that can be done is to clean the area of the house and ensure personal hygiene. You should do this repeatedly until the impetigo condition improves.
If the impetigo condition does not improve, immediately see a doctor for further tests. Based on the results of the examination, the doctor will provide antibiotics to fight the bacteria. Antibiotics are generally given to people with severe impetigo.
In addition to taking antibiotics, your doctor may also prescribe antibacterial ointments to treat minor skin infections. Your doctor may advise against buying over-the-counter antibacterial ointments at pharmacies.
If you overuse ointments or you do not follow your doctor’s advice, there is a potential of triggering the spread of infection.
In the event the symptoms of impetigo recur, the doctor may prescribe an antiseptic nose cream to clear the bacteria in your nose.
Treatment Cost for Impetigo
The cost for impetigo treatment varies, depending on the symptoms, the severity, and the treatment method.
For more information regarding the estimated costs of impetigo treatment, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Impetigo
Impetigo generally affects skin that has been exposed to certain problems or has been damaged by cuts or scratches. Therefore, impetigo prevention is focused on injured skin.
Infection can be avoided by:
- Ensure the cleanliness of your skin cuts, scrapes and insect bites. You can do this by washing these wounds with warm water and soap.
- Undergo treatment if you have certain skin conditions such as eczema
Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Impetigo
Impetigo patients are encouraged to use different household appliances from other household members. This is because bacterial transmission can also occur through contact with objects around you.
While at home, avoid close contact with other household members as much as possible.
Furthermore, impetigo patients may experience itching after applying antibacterial ointment to the skin. When this happens, the patient is advised not to touch and scratch the affected area.