Infantigo or impetigo is a highly contagious infection of the skin caused by Streptococcal or Staphylococcus. It is most common in children, that’s why it’s called “school sore”. It can affect adults as well, but is more common in early years of life. The bacteria enter the skin through a scratch or a wound on the skin surface, causing the illness. It causes sores accumulation on the skin which can be very disturbing and visually awful, but it does not leave serious damage unless it gets complicated.
Who Causes Infantigo?
The disease called impetigo is usually caused by two bacteria, staphylococcus aureus and less common, streptococcus pyogenes. The staphylococcus has its virulence more expressed in colder parts of the world, where in the warmer countries, both bacteria act the same. There are two types of infantigo depending on the illness flow:
- Non-bullous impetigo or impetigo contagiosa
- Bullous impetigo.
Impetigo contagiosa comes in a shape of acute sore appearance which burst and leave a crust. The bullous impetigo comes in a form of blisters filled with fluid all around the body. They are usually not painful like the contagious ones and don’t burst that easily. The infection can develop primary or secondary. When the bacteria invade the skin itself and infect the organism, it results in infection due to direct invasion. This is a primary disease. The secondary comes accompanied with other skin condition which affects the skin surface in which the tissue gets disrupted and there are potential open spots for the bacteria which are caused by other diseases. The incubation period can last from 4 to 10 days after the bacteria invasion. The person is still contagious during that period, even if he does not have any symptoms.
How To Confirm The Infantigo?
It is a lesion which starts as a red bump. They progress to blisters which fill with fluid. If they do not burst, they turn into pimples and eventually sores. Sores look like crust where they leak a yellow fluid on top, which dries and becomes a crusty surface. The degree of the affected skin can be diagnosed with a certain tactics such as:
- Changes in the skin that are smaller than a two palm surface
- No fever or signs of other infections
- Slow development of the skin lesions
- Less than five visible spots of the body which are affected by the clustered sores.
Non-Bullous Impetigo (Impetigo Contagiosa)
This type of impetigo develops as a sudden change on the skin in a form of red patches and sores, usually around the mouth zone and the nose. They burst rapidly, leaving the pus or yellow fluid to dry and create the crusty surface. After they fall off, they can leave a hyperpigmentation which can last for a few months but is not permanent. It is accompanied by heavy itchy feeling. This is why they sometimes end up in complications due to scratching the affected areas. They are not supposed to touch in order to prevent other injuries of the skin surface and also to prevent the contagious circle via direct contact.
Bullous type of infantigo is usually on the infants or the babies under the age of two. The change on the skin occurs not on the face, but mostly on the rest of the body, legs, arms, chest, stomach. They start immediately with blisters all over the body which are filled with pus and they also burst after a few days, leaving the yellow crust over the skin. It is also itchy, but not painful. Fever and gland swelling may be associated symptoms.
By now, you already got the picture that it is a highly contagious disease which can be spread with ease. This is mostly due to long incubation, were the persons are contagious even they don’t express any of the following symptoms. It is a misconception that this kind of disease is due to a bad hygiene. It can affect in a way that if a person scratches the skin and the residues with a bacteria are left underneath the nails, they can be transferred to another person if a contagious one does not wash his hands. That’s why you should bathe regularly and keep your hands clean with short nails.
How To Treat The Impetigo?
There are ordinary routines and specific treatments for this type of condition. It can subside by itself in a few weeks without any treatment if not worsen with excessive scratching and not keeping the hygiene.
- Wash And Soap. You should shower regularly to remove the skin residue and to remove bacteria as well.
- Isolation. In order to protect others, you should be in quarantine and keep distance with other persons. This will include school absence, family distance, friends limitation visits.
- Medications. A doctor may prescribe some topical or oral antibiotics. Topical antibiotics are applied directly onto the skin. The skin and crust residue should be removed anteriorly before applying any cream. Use soap and lukewarm water to wash before applying ointment. Such ointment can be Bactroban (mupirocin). Use the gloves preferably and apply it on the skin. If you don’t use the gloves, wash the hands straight after the application. The treatment lasts about 7 days. Oral antibiotics last about the same and are prescribed if the patients don’t respond to the topical antibiotics. After the antibiotic prescription, the person can get back into public after about 48 hours of drug intake.
There are a few things that can help with the recovery process that you can do in the comfort of your home.
- Aloe Vera. If you apply the aloe vera gel on the affected skin, it can help with the itchy feeling, calming and cooling it down. You can apply it a few times a day.
- Tea Tree Oil. This is an extraordinary oil which has multiple benefits. One of them is antibacterial properties. It will calm down and accelerate the healing process.
- Diet. If you keep your diet healthy and eat well for your immune system, it will benefit the recovery process as well. You should eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and food rich in fibers.
- Garlic. Garlic is known for its antimicrobial properties which can contribute to the healing process as well. If you mash the garlic and rub it on the affected area, it can kill the germs and bacteria on the skin, and it will speed up the crust forming period and contribute to recovery.
Complications Of Impetigo
On rare circumstances, if the complications do occur, they can result in any of these listed down bellow.
- Scarlet fever
- Guttate psoriasis
- Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis.