Impetigo is a common skin infection that most often affects children. It is caused by bacteria and can be contagious. Impetigo usually starts as a red, itchy patch on the skin. The area may then blister and break open, forming a crust. Impetigo is usually not serious, but it can spread to other parts of the body or to other people. Treatment involves antibiotics and keeping the affected area clean and dry.
What are the types of impetigo?
The most common type of impetigo is called non-bullous impetigo, and it usually affects young children. It can occur anywhere on the body, but it is most commonly found on the face, especially around the nose and mouth. Non-bullous impetigo usually starts as a small blister or pimple that breaks open and forms a crusted scab.
The second type of impetigo Bullous impetigo is less common, but it can occur in people of any age. It is characterized by large, fluid-filled blisters that can be painful. Bullous impetigo usually occurs on the trunk, but it can also occur on the face, arms, and legs.
The third type of impetigo is ecthyma impetigo, which is a more serious form of infection that can lead to ulcers and scarring. When impetigo isn’t treated, this can happen. Ecthyma impetigo usually affects adults and older children, and it most commonly occurs on the legs. Impetigo is highly contagious, so it is important to take measures to prevent the spread of the infection.
What are the symptoms of impetigo?
The most common symptom of impetigo is a red, itchy rash that develops sores or blisters. These sores can be painful and may ooze pus. They can form a crust when they heal. They can occur anywhere on the body but are most commonly found around the nose and mouth, on the arms and legs, or in areas where there is a cut or break in the skin.
Other symptoms of impetigo include:
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
What causes impetigo?
Impetigo is caused by bacteria, most commonly Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes. These bacteria are found on the skin and in the nose of healthy people. They can cause infection when they enter the body through a cut or break in the skin. Impetigo is more common in children because their immune systems are not yet fully developed, and they are more likely to have cuts or scrapes on their skin.
What are the risk factors of impetigo?
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing impetigo, including:
- Age: Impetigo is most common in children.
- Weakened immune system: People with conditions that weaken the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS or cancer, are at increased risk of developing impetigo.
- Skin conditions: People with conditions that cause breaks in the skin, such as eczema or psoriasis, are at increased risk of developing impetigo.
- Broken skin: Impetigo can occur when the bacteria enter the body through a cut or break in the skin.
- Hot and humid weather: Impetigo is more common in hot and humid weather because the bacteria that cause the infection thrive in these conditions.
What is the treatment for impetigo?
Treatment for impetigo typically involves antibiotics to clear the infection. In some cases, a topical antibiotic ointment may be all that is needed. More severe cases may require oral antibiotics. They are usually given for 7-10 days. It is important to finish the entire course of antibiotics even if the symptoms go away. Impetigo is highly contagious and can be spread easily from person to person. It is important to practice good hygiene.
In addition to antibiotics, the following measures can be taken to treat impetigo:
- Keep the affected area clean and dry.
- Wash the affected area with soap and water two to three times a day.
- Apply a topical antibiotic ointment to the affected area.
- Cover the affected area with a bandage.
- Change the bandage regularly.
- Do not share towels, washcloths, or other personal items with others.
- Wash towels, bedding, and clothing in hot water and detergent.
- Avoid scratching or picking at the sores.
What are the complications of impetigo?
If impetigo is not treated, it can spread to other parts of the body or to other people. It can also lead to more serious complications, such as:
- Cellulitis: This is a bacterial infection of the skin that can spread to the lymph nodes and bloodstream.
- Ecthyma: This is a deeper form of impetigo that can cause scars.
- Kidney damage: This can occur if the bacteria spread to the bloodstream and infect the kidneys.
- Sepsis: This is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when an infection spreads through the bloodstream.
Impetigo is a highly contagious infection and early treatment is important to prevent the spread of the infection.
Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the skin that can cause sores and blisters. It is most common in children and can be spread easily from person to person. Treatment typically involves antibiotics to clear the infection. Impetigo can lead to more serious complications if it is not treated, so early treatment is important.