Impetigo is a contagious skin infection that may affect anybody, including children and adults. Impetigo on face is something you may have heard of. Impetigo transmission occurs when the bacteria enters the body via skin breaches such as cuts, scrapes, insect bites, or pre-existing skin diseases such as eczema.
Identifying Impetigo Signs and Symptoms
When it comes to recognizing Impetigo, keep an eye out for the following signs and symptoms:
- Red sores or blisters: Impetigo often starts out as red sores or small blisters on the skin. These lesions can appear anywhere on the body, but they are more common around the nose, mouth, and hands. As the infection progresses, the blisters can fill with fluid and eventually burst, leaving behind moist and red patches.
- Itchy and painful skin: The affected areas can become itchy and uncomfortable. Constant scratching may lead to the spreading of the infection to other parts of the body, and it can also cause the formation of new sores.
- Honey-colored crusts: Once the blisters burst, they form a characteristic thick, golden-brown crust over the affected area. This crust is often compared to the appearance of honey or corn flakes stuck to the skin.
- Swollen lymph nodes: In some cases, nearby lymph nodes might become swollen and tender. This is an indication that the body’s immune system is responding to the infection.
Understanding Impetigo Causes
Impetigo is mainly caused by two bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. The virus is very infectious and may quickly spread from person to person through direct contact with an infected individual’s skin or by touching contaminated objects and surfaces.
Certain factors can increase the risk of developing Impetigo:
- Poor Hygiene: Not washing your hand enough or not keeping the skin clean can contribute to the spread of the bacteria.
- Crowded Environments: Places with close contact among individuals, such as schools or daycare centers, have high chances for the presence of bacteria and can facilitate the transmission of the infection.
- Warm and Humid Weather: Impetigo tends to be more common in warm and humid climates, as these conditions favor bacterial growth.
- Pre-existing Skin Conditions: Skin conditions that cause itching and scratching, like eczema, provide entry points for the bacteria to invade the skin.
- Weakened Immune System: Individuals with a compromised immune system are more susceptible to Impetigo and may experience more severe infections.
Preventing Impetigo: Tips and Best Practices
- Wash Your Hands Frequently: Regularly washing your hands with soap and water is the first line of defense against Impetigo. This simple act can help prevent the bacteria from spreading to your skin.
- Keep Skin Injuries Clean: Whenever you or your child gets a cut, scrape, or insect bite, make sure to clean the area with mild soap and water. Cover the wound with a clean bandage until it heals completely.
- Avoid Touching Sores: If you or someone you know has Impetigo, try to avoid touching the sores. Encourage children to refrain from scratching, as it can worsen the infection and increase the risk of spreading it to other parts of the body.
- Don’t Share Personal Items: Avoid sharing towels, razors, clothing, or any personal items that come into contact with the skin, as this can contribute to the spread of Impetigo.
- Maintain Cleanliness: Regularly clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces in your home, especially if someone in the family has Impetigo. This will help reduce the chances of spreading the bacteria.
If you suspect you or your child has Impetigo, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional, at the best dermatology hospital, for proper diagnosis and treatment. Treatment for Impetigo may involve:
- Topical Antibiotics: For mild cases, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic ointments or creams to apply to the affected areas. Make sure to follow the instructions for application carefully.
- Oral Antibiotics: In more severe cases, oral antibiotics may be necessary to clear the infection. Always complete the full course of antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor.
- Pain and Itch Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-itch creams can help alleviate discomfort while the infection heals.
- Avoiding School or Work: If you or your child has Impetigo, it’s best to stay home from school or work until the sores have crusted over and are no longer contagious.