Impetigo is a very contagious infection of the skin that typically occurs in infants and young children. Impetigo normally occurs in the form of red sores on the face, particularly around the mouth or nose. These sores will later burst and form crusts the color of honey.
Impetigo may disappear on its own within two to three weeks; however, the use of antibiotics can reduce the length of this period and also prevent spreading the infection to other people.
If your child has impetigo, it may be necessary to keep your child at home and not send him or her to school or day care until the condition is not infectious anymore – this is usually one to two days after antibiotic treatment commences. If you do not use antibiotics for your child, the sores will be contagious until they clear up.
Signs and symptoms
Typical signs and symptoms of impetigo include red sores that rupture rapidly and ooze for some days, eventually forming a honey colored or yellow-brown crust. The sores may take place around the mouth or nose, but can also spread to other regions of the body from your child’s fingers, towels or clothes.
Occasionally, a disorder called bullous impetigo may also occur, causing larger blisters to form on the diaper or trunk area in infants and young children.
A more severe form of impetigo known as ecthyma can penetrate deeper inside the skin, thereby causing a pus-filled, painful sore that form deep ulcers later.
When to seek medical attention
Take your child to a doctor if you suspect he or she might have impetigo.
Impetigo usually results when you come into contact with another person’s sores or items infected people may have touched such as towels, clothing, toys, bed linens or pillow cases.
Antibiotics are vital for treatment of impetigo. Antibiotics can be taken in the form of an ointment cream that is to be applied directly to the impetigo sores. It may be important to first soak the region with warm water or apply of warm, damp compresses to easily remove the scabs.
If you or your child has more than a few sores, you may be prescribed to take antibiotics that you must take orally. It is important that you make sure that you or your child finishes the entire course of the antibiotic medication even after sores heal to maintain the effectives of the drug. Moreover, completion of the treatment course will ensure that the condition does not recur and reduce the chances of antibiotic resistance.
Minor infections that have not reached other areas of your body can be effectively treated with over-the-counter antibiotic ointment creams that comprise of bacitracin.
You can apply a nonstick gauze or bandage on the affected areas to make sure that the infection does not spread.