Impetigo - Dream Health

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Monday 9 February 2015


Impetigo – Highly Common Contagious Skin Infection

Impetigo is a highly and acommon contagious skin infection which can affect individuals of any age butmainly the infants and children. It usually appears as red sores on the face especially surrounding the nose and mouth of a child.

The sores tend to burst developing a honey coloured crusts. It is not usually serious and tends to clear on its own within two to three week though antibiotics could shorten the course of the ailment and prevent the spread of the same. The child suffering from impetigo may be kept home from school or a day care centre till the condition is not contagious which is between 24 to 48 hours after the antibiotic treatment has been started.

Impetigo could be contagious without the treatment of antibiotics till the sores tend to disappear and are of two types namely – non-bullous impetigo which affects the skin around the mouth and the nose resulting in sores to develop and quickly leaving a yellow brown crust and bullous impetigo that affects the trunk which is the central part of the body between the waist and the neck, resulting in fluid filled blisters or bullae to form which burst after a few days leaving a yellow crust. These two forms of impetigo could leave some red scars when the crusts tend to disappear though they usually improve after several days or weeks.

Non-Bullous/Bullous Impetigo

Non bullous impetigo is the common form of impetigo which accounts for over 70% of cases while bullous impetigo is common in babies though it could also affect older children as well as adults. Impetigo is caused by bacteria which affects the outer layers of the skin and can infect the skin in two ways – through a break in a healthy skin like a cut, any injury or insect bite and through skin which is damaged through skin conditions like scabies or eczema.

Should a person get infected with the bacteria, the infection has a tendency of spreading easily through contact or on using personal items of the infected person. Though this condition tends to get better without treatment in two or three weeks, treatment is recommended since it reduces the length of the condition from 7 to 10 days as well as lowers the risk of spreading the infection to those around them.

Treatment to Minimise Spread

At the time of the treatment, it is essential to maintain precautions in order to minimise the risk of spreading the infection to others by ensuring not to touch the sores, washing the handing regularly, avoid sharing personal items with others and staying away from work, school, play school or day care, till the sores have dried up or treatment has been carried out for a minimum of 48 hours since the infection is not contagious after a treatment of 48 hours or when the sores appear to be dried and healed.

Impetigo is rarely serious though in some cases it could spread to other areas of the body which could lead to problems like cellulitis and scarlet fever and in other rare cases; it could also lead to some scarring especially if one tends to scratch the blisters, sores or crusts.

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