A commonly occurring, highly-contagious disease, Impetigo generally affects small children or infants. The areas that are affected include hands, neck, lips, and face. Small children who wear diapers for a long time also get affected with this disease. This condition can also affect adults; however, the cause of impetigo in adults is a persistent skin infection. The first sign of impetigo is the presence of itchy and red skin developing into yellow-brown sores.
This is a highly contagious disease caused by streptococci or staphylococci bacteria alone or in combination. There are few ways in which it can occur:
- Coming in direct contact with the infected patient
- Touching things previously used by the patient
- Skin injury or open wound
- Insect or animal bite
There are a number of risk factors associated with this contagious disease. However, some of the most commonly noticed risk factors include:
Age group: Children falling in the age group of 4-5 years or below are at higher risk of developing this skin infection.
Humid weather: Children are more likely to get infected with impetigo during summers as compared to winters.
Broken skin: The bacteria can more easily penetrate the broken skin and infect the person.
Weakened immune system: Adults who are suffering from an infection that has caused their immune system to weaken are at higher risk of developing this infection.
Symptoms of impetigo
There are two different types of Impetigo and their symptoms differ as well.
1. Non- bullous Impetigo.
The symptoms of non-bullous impetigo include the appearance of red sore around mouth and nose; however, other parts of the face or body can be infected too. The sore burst leaving behind golden crusts that fade away without leaving a mark.
2. Bullous Impetigo.
This type of impetigo generally starts with the appearance of fluid-filled blisters occurring on arms or legs. These blisters can easily spread across other non-infected parts of the body and leave the patient irritated. This type is also followed by swollen glands and fever.
How to diagnosis?
The doctor generally starts his diagnosis by looking at the sores present all over the body or at some specific locations. In most of the cases, lab tests are not a necessity as this infection can be easily diagnosed through physical examination. However, the doctor may suggest you undergo a lab test to know the real cause of the infection.
Treatment of Impetigo
It is important to visit a doctor as soon as you see a red scar developing on your child’s skin. The doctor will prescribe the required medication and help you know hygiene methods that will prevent the infection from spreading. The topical antibiotic cream should be applied directly to the clean skin surface while avoiding touching of the skin.
- Avoid scrubbing the affected area vigorously to prevent the situation from worsening
- Apply the antibiotic ointment prescribed by the doctor and rub in well
- To prevent bacteria from growing on the skin, compress the affected area with a soft cloth dipped in lukewarm water
- Children suffer from this infection should not be allowed to go to school as they can infect other children also