Impetigo is a contagious infection found on the skin. It creates sores or blisters on the neck, face, hands and diaper area. It is the most seen skin infection in children. It is typically caused by one or two different bacteria: group A streptococcus or staphylococcus aureus. Preschoolers and school-age children are the ones most likely to be affected by impetigo. A person is more likely to develop impetigo if the skin has previously been exposed to other irritants, including insect bites or eczema. In adults, impetigo is usually a result of a skin injury such as dermatitis. Children are usually infected through a scrape, cut or insect bite, but impetigo can also appear without any visible skin damage.
The bacteria Staph creates a toxin that causes impetigo to spread to other areas. This toxin attacks the protein that aids in keeping skin cells together. After this protein has been damaged, the bacteria can quickly spread. You have been exposed to the bacteria causing impetigo when you come into contact with the sores of someone else who is infected or even with items that they have touched, like linens, towels, clothing or toys. Once you have been infected, it can easily be spread to others.
Ways to treat Impetigo:
- Good hygiene. Keeping the skin clean can help heal mild infections.
- Oral antibiotics. Antibiotics taken by mouth may be prescribed for impetigo that is spreading. The type of antibiotic will depend on the severity.
- Topical antibiotics. An antibiotic may be prescribed by a doctor. You'd apply this directly to the area that is infected.
Home remedies to treat Impetigo that has not spread:
- Soak the area with a vinegar and water mixture for 10 minutes: 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 pint of water.
- Avoid touching or scratching the area. You can add a nonstick dressing to the area to keep it from spreading.
- After you wash the area, apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment to the area 3-4 times each day. Make sure to dry the area completely before applying any ointment.
Anyone of any age can develop impetigo, but children between the ages of 2 and 6 are usually infected. Children are susceptible to many infections because their immune systems are still continuing to develop as they grow. Because strep and staph bacteria tend to grow where groups of people are found, impetigo easily spreads in child care centers and schools.