Impetigo

Impetigo is a common and highly contagious skin infection mainly affecting infants and children. Normally it appears as red sores on the face, especially around a child’s nose and mouth, and on hands and feet. The sores burst and develop honey-colored crusts. The most common cause of impetigo is a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. Another bacteria source is group A streptococcus. These bacteria lurk everywhere. The most common way for children to get impetigo is coming in contact with an infected person someone and easy to pick it up if an open wound or a fresh scratch is existing. There are more chances to get impetigo if other problems like eczema, body lice, insect bites or fungal infections are present. Impetigo sores can appear anywhere on the body, but children tend to get them on their face, and arms or legs. The infected areas range from a dime to quarter size and start as a tiny blister that break and reveal moist, red skin. A few days later it gets covered with a grainy, golden crust that gradually spreads at the edges. In serious cases, the infection invades a deeper layer of skin and turns into a form of impetigo called ecthyma. Usually, sores occur around the nose and mouth but can also spread to other areas of the body by fingers, clothing, and towels. Itching and soreness are generally mild.

The lesser common form, called bullous impetigo, features larger blisters occurring on the trunk of infants and young children. Ecthyma, a more serious form of impetigo is very itchy and it penetrates deeper into the skin causing painful fluid or pus-filled sores that turn into deep ulcers. If left untreated may cause permanent scars and changes in skin color. One of the rare complications of impetigo is a severe kidney disease called post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis. Risk factors of impetigo for children ages 2 to 5 are crowded places like schools and child care settings, warm, humid weather like summer, sports like football or wrestling involving skin-to-skin contact, broken skin. Diabetics or a weakened immune system person are more likely to develop ecthyma. Impetigo typically isn’t dangerous and the sores in mild forms of the infection generally heal without scarring. Some of the rare complications of impetigo include Cellulitis, kidney problems, and scarring.

In cellulitis infection affects the tissues underlying skin and eventually lymph nodes and bloodstream. Untreated cellulitis can quickly become life-threatening. Scarring occurs due to the ulcers which leave a scar. The best to keep healthy is to keep skin clean and must wash cuts, scrapes, insect bites and other wounds right away. The spread can be prevented by few steps – gently wash the affected areas with mild soap and running water and then cover lightly with gauze, wash an infected person’s clothes, linens and towels every day. Few steps can be taken as a preventive measure in order to stop its spread – wear gloves while applying antibiotic ointment and wash hands thoroughly afterward, cut an infected child’s nails short so as to prevent damage from scratching, wash hands frequently, keep an ill child at home. Treatment with antibiotics is generally recommended to help prevent the spread of impetigo to others.