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Impetigo is a bacterial infection of the skin. It commonly affects children. But, it can affect people of all ages. In addition, impetigo is contagious. It easily spreads by coming in contact with the infected person. Also, people living in warm and humid weather are more prone to it. Most of the time antibiotic creams clear the infection. But, sometimes a doctor will prescribe an antibiotic syrup or tablet for treatment. There are three variations of impetigo skin infection that may occur:
- Staphylococcus aureus – the most frequently found cause
- Streptococcus pyogenes
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) – it is a relatively newer strain and is quickly becoming resistant to antibiotics
Primary impetigo is the case in which a person’s healthy skin becomes infected. Secondary impetigo is if previously damaged or affected skin becomes infected. Examples may include eczema or a having a cut. Also, impetigo on the face or near the mouth may give the impression of being a cold sore. In fact, cold sores are viral infections. It is important to note that they can recur in the same spot now and then.
Non-bullous impetigo is the most common form of the skin condition. After infected with impetigo, the rash appears within 4 to 10 days. Most often, it shows up on the face. In addition, smaller blisters may appear around the original blister site. People refer to them as satellite patches. First, few blisters filled with fluid appear. Since they are so small, it is invisible to the naked eye. Then, they burst and leave behind golden scabs. These look like cornflakes, for instance. The affected skin may also become red or inflamed.
Bullous impetigo is the type that will form large blisters. It results in thin layers of skin peeling off of the top of the blisters. Once the skin peels off, it leaves behind raw red patches of inflamed skin beneath. In fact, it is more likely to occur in areas that also have eczema or other such conditions on the body. In rare cases, the breaks in the skin can become very deep. Thus, as a result, ulcers may form. For instance, in cases of ecthyma.
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Impetigo is likely to clear on it’s own in 2-3 weeks. But, in some cases, treatment may be required. This is because of its contagious nature. Doctors recommend that the medicated cream called Naseptin be applied to help clear the infection.
Your doctor may suggest an alternative medication to treat the condition. This is for cases when bacteria become antibiotic resistant, for instance. Doctors perform a swab test of the blister. The test determines which strain of bacteria is resistant. In brief, this will help your doctor arrive at the best course of treatment for your condition.
- First, avoid touching or coming in contact with impetigo patches. Don’t allow other children to come in contact with the affected skin.
- Secondly, wash your hands before and after every application of the cream.
- Thirdly, avoid sharing towels, bathwater, etc until you are free from the infection.
- Lastly, avoid public places at least 48 hours after the infection resolves.