Impetigo often becomes a concern since it mostly affects young children. The symptoms of this skin illness are visible, but may be mistaken for other skin diseases that are more serious. Despite this, impetigo does cause severe discomforts as it triggers itching on site, which can be problematic for young children and infants.
Who is susceptible to impetigo?
Impetigo is bacterial infection of the skin which may affect people in any age, although children—infants and young toddlers are more susceptible. Infants and children before the age of four are the most susceptible, followed by those between the ages of four and fifteen. Non-bullous impetigo, wherein the effect is crusted skin which may occur all over the face or on certain parts of the facial skin.
What are the symptoms?
There are two types of impetigo which may affect the skin anywhere on the body, including the face. In most cases, impetigo affects the mouth, nose, hands, forearms, and buttocks of young children and infants. These two types include non-bullous and bullous impetigo. When the two are compared, non-bullous impetigo is more common than the bullous one. Some signs and symptoms of these impetigo include:
- Non-bullous impetigo starts with small blisters occurring around the mouth or any other areas of the body. These blisters eventually burst and leave wet patches on the reddened skin. Eventually, this area is covered with yellowish crusts, making the wound site resemble brown sugar-coated skin surface.
- Bullous impetigo is signed by the occurrence of large fluid-containing blisters. These blisters, different from the ones with non-bullous impetigo, commonly stay on the skin without bursting. Instead, it turns its color, from the clear one into cloudy.
- Both kinds of impetigo commonly trigger itching and burning, in addition to spreading infection.
How is impetigo treated?
Impetigo-induced infection commonly stay on the victims’ skin for at least two weeks. It may stay longer, depending on the person’s immune system and strength. Thus, this skin disorder needs to be a consideration, especially when affecting young children. It is because impetigo is highly contagious. Direct contacts with the patients, especially when a person’s immune system is weakened may result in a transmitted impetigo. It is also possible for adults to transmit impetigo to children and vice versa. Hence, treating impetigo thoroughly and immediately is crucial in order to inhibit the development of causative bacteria.
However, impetigo treatment might be a dilemma for parents whose very young children—even infants, affected by this bacterial infection, since these young children may not tolerate the given medications well. As a result, many parents wonder whether this skin problem can be left alone to heal, without having to make their children take any medicines.
In fact, it is possible for impetigo to heal without any specific treatments and medications. If the skin disorder is left alone, it commonly takes more than two or three weeks for the body to defeat the causative bacteria and thus, improve the body condition. However, medications which are prescribed and taken regularly might be helpful in shortening the period needed for the body to eliminate causative bacteria within approximately 10 days. Medications are also helpful in inhibiting impetigo from spreading from one part of the body to another. Antibiotics also helps killing the bacteria and improve the affected site.
If you decide not to use medications with impetigo, it is important to take precautions which prevent impetigo from spreading so that the healing period can be speed up, such as:
- Not touching the affected site. Keeping the hands away from the blisters and flakes is also important, since this infected site is definitely bacteria-containing. Touching the wound without thoroughly washing the hands afterwards bring a high risk of contaminating your other skin part with impetigo.
- Washing the hands, sheets, blankets, and pillow cases regularly. These might be infected with causative bacteria from the affected skin and heighten the risk of spreading the infection. Wash the beddings with warm water is also essential to kill potential infecting bacteria.
- Not sharing towels and clothes with anyone, especially while you or they are suffering from the bacterial infection.
- Keeping children away from public places until the sores have dried or at least 2 or 3 days.