Impetigo is a skin infection of mostly babies and children. In first 24 hours, this is a very contagious skin disorder. After that period and with the appropriate therapy, your child is no longer contagious and can play with other kids or go to school. Impetigo causes red sores around the nose and mouth. Usually the condition clears on its own, without any intervention after couple of weeks. Sometimes, however, impetigo can get severe and complicated and doctors often prescribe antibiotics to prevent such condition.
Symptoms of impetigo include: red sores around mouth and nose that cause itching or pain. These sores can quickly burst, ooze for several days and then form a crust. Some patients experience blisters on the same area of the face, and these blisters don’t hurt. Severe cases of impetigo are characterized by sores filled with pus or fluids, which cause pain in patients and may progress into deep skin ulcers.
There are 3 different types of impetigo:
Impetigo contagiosa is the most common impetigo. There are red sores, oozing and crusts around the mouth and nose. Sometimes, these sores itch, but without any pain. After the crust falls off there might be a reddish mark for some time. Be careful and don’t let your child scratch the sores, for it may spread the infection to other parts of the body.
Bullous impetigo is frequent in very young children. It is characterized by the blisters on the body, arms and legs of young kids. Although the area around the blisters might be red, these blisters don’t hurt.
Ecthyma is the severe case of impetigo, which affect deeper layers of the skin. Red sores usually progress into ulcers and leave scars once they heal.
Causes of Impetigo
The most common causes of impetigo are bacterial infections. Bacteria enter the damaged or normally healthy skin and cause nose and mouth redness.
There are two types of bacteria that cause this skin condition: Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes, usually called staph and strep bacteria. These bacteria are normally present on the skin and don’t cause any harm. A cut or insect bite can damage the skin and let strep and staph bacteria inside and cause infection and inflammation. Staph bacterial infection can progress and affect larger areas of the skin. This happens because bacteria produces toxin which damages the skin and helps spreading of the disease.
Sometimes, impetigo can affect adult people. Dermatitis or some other skin problems may also damage the skin and make it susceptible to impetigo. This condition spreads by direct contact with infected people (children or adults) or in contact with the linen, towels, clothes or anything else of an infected person.
Doctors might prescribe topical or oral course of antibiotics for the children and adults affected with impetigo. For the mild cases of impetigo doctors won’t recommend antibiotics, but hygienic measures, to make sure the skin heals.