Impetigo is a skin condition that is highly contagious. Caused by bacteria, it is very common in children and infants although adults may get it too, usually due to an infection or another condition affecting the skin.
This is something that can be quite embarrassing because it involves the formation or red sores on the face, neck and hands. Those itchy fluid-filled sacs may also appear on the diaper area. A mild case of impetigo may not require treatment. On the other hand, a severe case is usually treated with antibiotics. Impetigo tends to go away in 2 to 3 weeks.
Impetigo can be classified into 3 types, depending on the bacteria behind it and the signs and symptoms. Several different home remedies are also available for this skin condition that can help in its management, as well as in keeping it from spreading.
There are 2 kinds of bacteria which may cause impetigo: streptococcus pyogenes and staphylococcus aureus. The skin condition may get spread in a variety of ways. Definitely, an individual may obtain it from coming into direct contact with the skin of a person with impetigo. The bacteria which cause it may also be spread from using or touching items belonging to an infected individual, such as towels and toys.
It is also possible for the infection to be obtained by means of an insect or animal bite, as well as an injury to the skin.
As mentioned earlier, impetigo is more common in children and infants than adults. Experts say that children between 2 to 6 years of age are at high risk of getting the skin condition. This is especially true among those who regularly attend school. Certainly, being in a crowded area wherein the bacteria behind impetigo may spread easily is also a risk factor.
Poor hygiene and the weather may also be blamed for the spreading of impetigo.
Someone with skin irritation due to an assortment of causes may end up with the skin condition as bacteria may easily get to the affected area and start an infection. Experts say that having dermatitis may also put you at risk of developing it.
Signs and Symptoms
Because red sores develop on the face, neck and hands on the individual, impetigo can be an embarrassing skin condition to have. Fluid-filled sacs may pop easily, leaving yellow crusts behind. Needless to say, the blisters are itchy. A person with impetigo may also have lesions on the skin. Since it is a form of bacterial infection, it may cause the lymph nodes to end up tender and swollen.
It’s important to note that the signs and symptoms of impetigo may vary from person to person. It usually depends on the type of impetigo involved.
These are the different types of impetigo:
• Bullous impetigo – Common in children below 2 years of age, sores form on the arms, legs and torso at first. Initially, the fluid inside the sacs is clear, ending up cloudy. The rash tends to last longer than the rash due to the other types of impetigo.
• Nonbullous impetigo – Also known as impetigo contagiosa, it is highly contagious and the most common type of impetigo in children. The sores tend to appear first around the mouth and nose. The rash involved is itchy but not painful. It usually involves the swelling of the lymph nodes.
• Ecythma – Since the layer of skin underneath the topmost is also affected, this is regarded as the most serious form of impetigo. The rash may be painful and end up as open sores, leaving scars when they heal. It also causes the lymph nodes to get swollen.
Mild impetigo cases may not require any treatment. Some home remedies are usually enough to have the signs and symptoms managed. Gently washing the affected areas using antibacterial soap may be done. It’s important for the person with the skin condition to refrain from touching or picking at the blisters.
Oral and/or topical antibiotics may be prescribed by a doctor, the type of which is dependent on the bacteria causing the infection.