In the below-listed information, you can find information on Impetigo – including its causes, different types as well as the related symptoms, diagnosis, treatments (traditional and natural methods), complications, means of spreading, and preventive measures.
Impetigo – Overview
More often seen in children than adults, Impetigo is a skin infection that is caused due to the multiplication of bacterial elements. The sores arise in various parts of the body including the face, neck, and feet. Irritated or injured skin is more likely to become Impetigo-infected if not tended to in a timely manner. Skin problems such as insect bites and eczema can also cause the disorder.
Impetigo blisters appear to be pimple-like, after some time they rupture and results in oozing of the pus and development of crusts on the skin’s surface. Normally, the condition gets resolved on its own within a couple of weeks.
Impetigo is not a serious condition, but there could be a cluster of sores that adversely affect the skin. Additionally, if left untreated, it can lead to greater complications.
The Impetigo disorder is contagious in nature and spreads through direct or indirect contact with afflicted groups. It is also not advisable to scratch the sores because the infectivity spreads to other parts of the body.
Impetigo – Types and their Symptoms
Impetigo is categorized into 2 types: Bullous Impetigo and Non-Bullous Impetigo. The symptoms are perceived within few days of the person being exposed to the contagions.
- Non-Bullous Impetigo
Non-Bullous impetigo is the most common form of Impetigo. When a person contracts this type of Impetigo, then small-sized blisters are noticed around their nose and mouth. They burst at a rapid rate and give birth to reddened skin that oozes pus. The sores then develop yellow-colored crusts. The blistered portions do not cause pain but are itchy.
- Bullous Impetigo
Newborns below 2 years of age are mostly affected by Bullous Impetigo, which is the rare form of the disorder. The patients of this type of Impetigo develop large-sized blisters containing a yellowish fluid. Also, the areas surrounding the sores become red. The sores do not burst easily and remain on the skin for long; they are not painful but give rise to itchiness. Some other symptoms of Bullous Impetigo are swelling of the glands and feverish feeling.
Impetigo – How Does it Spread?
If a patient touches the sores and fails to wash their hands with soap and water, then it is likely that other healthy portions of the skin are affected. Moreover, if a healthy person comes in contact with the infectious elements by sharing the personal items, such as towels, of the Impetigo patients, it raises the possibility of them catching the infection as well.
As part of the preventive Impetigo measures, you should have daily baths and trim the nails. Furthermore, if you or your child is diagnosed with Impetigo, measures to stay away from others should be taken to curb the spread of the disorder.
Impetigo – Causes
The bacterial strains that give birth to Impetigo are Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. Bullous Impetigo is caused due to Staphylococcus aureus; these bacteria types stimulate the release of toxic compounds that attack the skin protein, which maintains the health of the skin. As a result, the bacterial elements are able to invade the body. Children are more susceptible to Impetigo because their immune systems are not developed.
As a result of colds, allergies, and burns the bacteria can gain entry into the body and cause infectivity. Sometimes, the nose is affected due to illnesses; consequently, it eases the invasion of the bacteria within the body.
Moreover, being in direct contact with an infected person can also lead to the transmission of germs to others. Other ways of catching the infection are through using contaminated items; infected persons coughing or sneezing in the presence of others.
Impetigo primary infections are those that afflict the skin as a result of cuts, scrapes or injuries on the skin. Underlying medical conditions, like eczema or scabies, giving rise to Impetigo infectivity are referred to as secondary infections.
Some risk factors that are responsible for the onset of Impetigo include humid temperatures, age-related considerations, low immunity levels and damaged skin.
Impetigo – Diagnosis
As part of the diagnosis of Impetigo, the medical experts will collect a sample of the bacterial strains and conduct laboratory tests for identification purposes. Thereafter, if it is confirmed that the patient has Impetigo, they will prescribe the appropriate medicines. Nevertheless, the doctors may order additional tests like blood and urine ones depending on the severity of the infection; and whether the patients are responding to treatment or not and they are having recurring bouts of the disorder.
Impetigo – Treatments
The treatments for Impetigo include the traditional and natural methods.
- Traditional Treatments
During the mild Impetigo stages, the doctors advise the application of topical antibiotics such as the muciprocin-containing ones (2%). The crusts of the blisters should be gently removed prior to applying the ointments as it facilitates their greater absorption by the body.
The sores are seen healing if the antibiotics are topically applied 4 times per day for 1 week or so. Latex gloves are to be worn when rubbing the ointments; also, hands should be thoroughly washed with soap and water post the application.
As the sores start to heal, it is advisable to remove the crusts. This is better achieved by keeping the infected portions immersed in hot water for some time and followed by their removal. Thereafter, the application of ointments is more effective. Also, the infection-causing elements are eliminated as they thrive under the crusts.
If the patient’s condition is found to be severe, then the medical practitioners will advise the intake of oral antibiotics. Some antibiotic pills that the doctors advise are cephalexin or dicloxacillin; 250 mg of the pills, four times in a day and over a period of 7 days is the general recommendation.
Antibiotic pills can cause ill-effects such as nauseous sensations, tendency to vomit, diarrhea, stomach pain, and yeast infectivity.
- Natural Treatments
Impetigo is treatable through alternative remedies as well. These include the use of virgin coconut oil, aloe vera gel, garlic, manuka honey, taking baths with colloidal oatmeal, tea tree oil, and green tea – to list a few.
Consuming foods that are antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in nature can also prove to be beneficial for Impetigo victims during the recovery period. Turmeric, ginger, garlic, and citrus fruits are good nutritional sources. They increase the body’s ability to ward off illnesses and infectivity more efficiently.
Impetigo – Complications
Some complications that are related to Impetigo are scars, Guttate psoriasis, Septicemia, Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, and Cellulitis. However, these are rare occurrences.
Impetigo – Prevention
Impetigo is preventable by dressing any skin wounds in a timely manner. As a result, the bacteria are eliminated and unable to multiply.
If a person has the infection, they should also wash their hands with antibiotic soap and water, on a daily basis. Moreover, they should clean the hands with soap and water after touching the sores. Also, keeping the nails trimmed is recommended for preventing the scratching of the sores and is also an effective way of curbing the spread of the disorder to other healthy body portions.
Impetigo patients must not come in contact with others and take treatment as soon as possible. Usually, after 24-48 hours of administering the antibiotics, their condition does not remain contagious.
On a concluding note, it is advisable to take treatment for Impetigo under the supervision of the medical experts. Also, you must adhere to their instructions strictly. Moreover, if the symptoms of the disorder seem to heal after few days, you must not discontinue the treatments. Make sure to follow the complete treatment course; it helps in timely recovery from the disorder.