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Impetigo :- Symptom, Causes, Forms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Home Remedy for Impetigo

Impetigo is a skin infection that mainly affects infants and children. Impetigo usually appears on the face, especially around a child's nose and mouth. And although it commonly occurs when bacteria enter the skin through cuts or insect bites, it can also develop in skin that's perfectly healthy.

Impetigo starts as a red sore that quickly ruptures, oozes for a few days and then forms a yellowish-brown crust that looks like honey or brown sugar. The disease is highly contagious, and scratching or touching the sores is likely to spread the infection to other parts of the body as well as to other people.

Impetigo is seldom serious, and minor infections may clear on their own in two to three weeks. But because impetigo can sometimes lead to complications, your child's doctor may choose to treat it with an antibiotic ointment or oral antibiotics. Your child can usually return to school or a child-care setting as soon as he or she isn't contagious - often within 24 hours of starting antibiotic therapy

Impetigo Symptom

Impetigo first appears as a small scratch or itchy patch of eczema - skin inflammation - on seemingly healthy skin. A small red, itchy spot quickly develops into a blister containing a yellow substance. Later, the top of the blister becomes crusty and weeps while new blisters develop in the same place or on other parts of the body. Impetigo usually begins on the face, especially around the corners of the mouth, the nose and back of the ears.

Impetigo causes small bumps or blisters that burst. The skin underneath is moist, tender and red, and it oozes a clear liquid. A honey-colored crust, which may itch, then forms over the reddened area. If the disease is more severe cases, you also may have a fever and swelling of the lymph glands (swollen glands) in the face or neck.

Causes of Impetigo

Impetigo can be caused by the Staphylococcus aureus (staph) or group A Streptococci (strep) bacteria. Bullous impetigo is usually caused by the staph bacteria and can occur at any age, while impetigo caused by strep is more likely to appear between the ages of two and five. Impetigo is extremely contagious. It can be spread by direct contact with the infected skin or through contact with an item used by the infected person. Epidemic impetigo spreads quickly among children and is aided by poor hygiene, overcrowded living conditions, and heat. Staph and strep bacteria can get through the skin's natural defenses if the skin is broken, such as by a cut, bite, or chickenpox sores.

Epidemic impetigo can be caused by staph or strep bacteria, and (as the name implies) is very easily passed between children. Certain factors, such as heat and humidity, crowded conditions, and poor hygiene increase the chance that this type of impetigo will spread rapidly among large groups of children. This type of impetigo involves the formation of a small vesicle surrounded by a circle of reddened skin. The vesicles appear first on the face and legs. When a child has several of these vesicles close together, they may spread to each other. The skin surface may become eaten away (ulcerated), leaving irritated pits. When there are many of these deep, pitting ulcers, with pus in the center and brownish-black scabs, the condition is called ecthyma. If left untreated, the type of bacteria causing this type of impetigo has the potential to cause a serious kidney disease, called glomerulonephritis. Even when impetigo is initially caused by strep bacteria, the vesicles are frequently secondarily infected with staph bacteria.

The real cause of the disease however is conditional and generally results from malnutrition due to poor eating habits and unclean habits in living conditions. It is easily passed from the infected child to other children, who are in a similar state of toxicity and impaired vitality, through contact. It is often pointless to explore an impetigo remedy if you are not proactive in changing the existing conditions and habits in which this virus thrives.

Forms of Impetigo

Impetigo has two general forms:

Ordinary impetigo

Bullous impetigo.

Ordinary impetigo:

Ordinary impetigo is scabby and pustular (little pimples full of pus) in appearance and is generally caused by germs. It starts as a small blister or pustule that ruptures and leaves a reddish base, which is then covered, by a honey-colored crust. In children, this condition often begins on the skin near the nose, though it may spread. Ordinary impetigo is also known as impetigo vulgaris and streptococcal impetigo.

Bullous Impetigo:

Bullous impetigo produces large, fragile blisters and is caused mostly by staph germs. It also often affects the face, but may appear elsewhere. The blisters it forms have very thin walls that collapse, leaving a bright red, inflamed, moist base. Bullous impetigo is also known as impetigo bullosa and staphylococcal impetigo.

Diagnosis of Impetigo

After examining the sores and taking an appropriate medical history, the doctor will usually prescribe an antibiotic to be taken by mouth. Some doctors may check the blood pressure or the urine in order to examine for early signs of glomerulonephritis.

Impetigo Treatment

Even if only one family member has impetigo, everyone in the household should follow the same sanitary regimen. Regular washing with soap and water can clear up mild forms. If the sores don't clear up in 48 hours, or if the infected person is a small child, see a doctor. To break the chain of contagion, the doctor may prescribe antibacterial baths for the entire household as well as for the infected patient.

skin care:-

Do not touch or scratch the lesions. The skin should be washed several times a day with soap and water or with an antibiotic soap. The crusts may be removed by soaking the infected area in warm water for about 15 minutes. Lesions should be covered loosely with gauze, a bandage, or clothing.

Wash infected areas gently several times a day with an antibacterial soap.  

Apply over-the-counter antibiotic ointment. Remove crusted areas by soaking them gently with warm water and a wash cloth.

Keep infected children home from school while sores are weeping. Infected people are contagious until the sores are all crusted over.


For a mild infection, a prescription topical antibiotic, such as mupirocin, or an over-the-counter topical antibiotic (significantly less effective), such as neomycin, bacitracin, or polymyxin, may be prescribed and applied to the lesion. Otherwise, oral antibiotics, such as erythromycin and penicillin, may be prescribed. In many communities steptococcal infections can no longer by treated by erythromycin, so other medications may need to be used. Many forms of impetigo require medications like cloxacillin or cephalexin that are also active against many staphylococcal infections.

Generally, treatment consists of systemic antibiotics (usually penicillin, or erythromycin for patients who are allergic to penicillin), which also help prevent glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidney that can have serious complications).

Therapy also includes removal of the exudate by washing the lesions two to three times a day with soap and water, or for stubborn crusts, warm soaks or compresses of normal saline or a diluted soap solution before application of topical antibiotics.

Topical antibiotics are less effective than systemic antibiotics. The patient is urged not to scratch since this exacerbates the impetigo. Parents are advised to cut the child's fingernails. Antibiotics taken by mouth usually clear up impetigo in four or five days. It's important for the antibiotic to be taken faithfully until the prescribed supply is completely used up.

An antibiotic ointment should be applied thinly four times daily. Crusts should be removed before the ointment is applied. Soak a soft, clean cloth in a mixture of one-half cup of white vinegar and a quart of lukewarm water. Press this cloth on the crusts for 10-15 minutes three or four times daily. Then gently wipe off the crusts and apply a little antibiotic ointment.

You can stop soaking the impetigo when crusts no longer form. When the skin is healed, stop the antibiotic ointment.

Impetigo Home Remedy

Remove crusts from sores with a cotton swab. Then, with a separate swab, apply topical antibiotic medication.

Wash your hands well with antibacterial soap and water after cleaning sores and applying ointment.

Don't cover the area with an adhesive bandage unless the sore is in an area where the scab may rub off. If needed to keep children from scratching, cover with a dry gauze pad and keep the tape as far from the sore as possible.

Make sure everyone in the household uses separate towels, washcloths, and bath water. Wash bedding, towels, and clothes with Lysol or bleach. Dry on high heat or in the sun.

Call your doctor if sores do not improve after 3 days of home care

Precaution in Impetigo

Impetigo is contagious when there is crusting or oozing. While it's contagious, take the following precautions:

Patients should avoid close contact with other people.

Children should be kept home from school until the lesions crust over.

Use separate towels for the patient. The patient's towels, pillowcases, and sheets should be changed after the first day of treatment. His or her clothing should be changed and laundered daily for the first two days.

Usually the contagious period ends within two days after treatment starts. If the impetigo doesn't heal in one week, please return for another evaluation.

When to Consult the Doctor

If facial swelling or tenderness develops near the nose and lips.

If impetigo covers a total area larger than 2 inches in diameter

If impetigo does not improve after 3 to 4 days of home treatment

If any new impetigo appears.

If other signs of infection develops:

Discharge of pus

Redness or red streaks extending from the area

Pain swelling or tenderness

Fever with no other cause

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