Battling Impetigo

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Impetigo is a common skin infection that many children catch early in life. While this infection is not usually serious, it is highly contagious, potentially very uncomfortable, and possibly even painful. Here is more information about how your child may catch impetigo as well as what to do after your child gets it.

What Are the Symptoms of Impetigo?

Impetigo usually presents itself as red bumps or blisters that occasionally break open and ooze. When these sores begin to heal, they often form a yellowish crusty surface. These sores are often surrounded by red and irritated skin and range from mildly irritating to painful. Some forms of impetigo may be accompanied by a fever or swollen glands.

How Does One Catch Impetigo?

Impetigo is frequently contracted through contact with an infected person or by touching something that an infected person has used. One of the most common places on the body for impetigo to show up is between the mouth and the nose, but it can affect other parts of the body. In infants, for example, the sores may show up in the diaper area. The disease is easily spread through scratching and touching other parts of the body.

Who Usually Gets Impetigo?

The most common impetigo victims are children under the age of five, but older children and adults can also get the disease. The disease is most common in situations where you or your child has a lot of contact with other people, such as a daycare or crowded living conditions.

How is Impetigo Treated?

Impetigo treatment depends on the severity of the infection. For mild cases, keeping the skin clean and cleaning all utensils, toys, and bedding may be enough to keep the disease at bay. More serious cases are treated with proper use of physician-prescribed antibiotics. Most cases clear up within a couple of weeks and complications are rare.

How Can Impetigo be Prevented?

Basic hygiene, such as washing your own and your child's hands frequently and keeping clothing and linen clean, can help prevent and reduce the severity of impetigo. If you suspect your child has impetigo, then keep your child at home until you can get an accurate diagnosis and all-clear from your pediatrician.

Treating impetigo is fairly easy and there are rarely any complications associated with the disease. With proper care, the sores should clear up in a short period of time. If you notice that your child is affected by oozing and itchy sores that don't shows signs of healing promptly, then see your pediatric doctor for an accurate diagnosis.