Impetigo is a bacterial infection of the skin in which A streptococcus (strep throat bacteria) or staphylococcus aureus (also known as “staph”) has gotten past the skin’s natural defenses. Although these bacteria are common even on the skin of healthy people, when the skin is cut, scraped, or otherwise damaged it can allow the bacteria to enter and cause infection.
The first symptom of impetigo is raw, broken open skin. Things such as diaper rash, raw skin from blowing the nose, or irritated skin from allergic reactions can all lead to impetigo. From there blisters with yellow fluid will come to the surface. These will burst, releasing a thick ooze that hardens into a thick honey colored crust.
Impetigo is spread by touch, so anyone showing symptoms should be quarantined. Do not allow them to touch or rub the effected areas as the bacteria will get on their hand, which means high chances of them infecting other areas of the body and other people. Children very commonly get impetigo, so be sure to not let them go to school if they might have it. The sores should be cleaned, then covered by bandages immediately to help prevent the infection from spreading.
Simple Ways To Treat Impetigo
1. A warm compress soaked in rubbing alcohol or vinegar will help clean the infected areas. Just remove the scabs gently, then lay the compress against the skin until it goes cold. This should be done at least twice a day along with a changing of the bandages. Do not use hydrogen peroxide as it can cause scarring.
2. Calendula, burdock, or Spica Prunellae can also be applied to the skin under the bandages to help kill the bacteria.
3. The best treatment for impetigo is antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. This will kill off the bacteria causing things to heal within three weeks most of the time. Antistaphylococcal penicillins, macrolides, cephalosporins, and amoxicillin/clavulanate are very common oral antibiotics your doctor may prescribe. These medicines are best for those with extensive areas of impetigo or for those with other health problems.
4. Topical antibiotics such as mupriocin can also be used. Be sure to take all of the antibiotics prescribed, even if the symptoms of impetigo have disappeared. If you do not take all of the anitibiotics, the impetigo can resurface and will be resistant or even immune to the antibiotic used last time. This is one way that “super bugs” are created.