Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria, usually staph or strep. Impetigo is contagious. The condition starts as a tiny, barely perceptible blister on the skin usually at the site of a skin abrasion, scratch, or insect bite. Over the next few days, red and itchy sores begin to ooze, leaving behind a sticky golden crust spots that grow larger day by day. The hands and face are the favorite locations for impetigo, but it often appears on other parts of the body.
Parents should keep a watchful eye
Parents should not let impetigo run its course, as it may continue indefinitely without treatment. In rare cases, impetigo can lead to a form of kidney disease known as acute glomerulonephritis.
Cuts and scrapes on a very young child will likely be noticed as the parent bathes the child. Unfortunately, after children reach a certain age and bathe alone, they tend to demand privacy for their bodies. It is important that parents teach their children to report any unusual rashes, bumps, or irritations to them so that care may be taken to avoid infection.
and is contagious.
How does one get impetigo?
While the germs causing impetigo may have been caught from someone else with impetigo it usually begins out of the blue without an apparent source of infection.
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 for 1-2 days.
- Use separate towels for the patient. His towels, pillowcases, and sheets should be changed after the first day of treatment. The patient’s clothing should be changed and laundered daily for the first two days.
All these measures are only needed during the contagious-crusting or oozing-stage of impetigo. Usually, the contagious period ends within two days after the treatment starts. Then children can return to school and special laundering and other precautions stopped. If the impetigo doesn’t heal in one week, please return for evaluation.
Antibiotics taken by mouth usually clear up impetigo in four to five days. It’s most important for the antibiotic to be taken faithfully until the prescribed supply is completely used up. In addition, an antibiotic ointment should be applied thinly four times daily. Bacitracin, Polysporin of Bactroban ointment is advised. Bacitracin and Polysporin can be purchased without a prescription.
Keys to making treatment successful include:
- Crusts should be removed before ointment is applied.
- Soak a soft, clean cloth in a mixture of ½ cup of white vinegar and a quart of luke warm water.
- Press this cloth on the crusts for 10-15 minutes three to four times a day as long as you see crusting or oozing.
- Then gently wipe off the crusts and smear on a little antibiotic ointment.
- You can stop soaking the impetigo when crusts no longer form.
- When the skin has healed, stop the antibiotic ointment.
Scabies is a highly contagious, but curable, skin disease that affects nearly one third of a billion people worldwide. It is caused by a tiny mite, just barely visible to the naked eye, that spends nearly its entire life in or on the human skin.
Although more common in warm climates, scabies can occur anywhere and within all social and income levels. It affects men, women, and children of all ages.
Scabies is highly contagious and easily transmitted from person to person through close physical contact, such as between family members, sexual partners, or children playing at school. An unproven, but possible method of transmission is via infested clothing, bedding and towels. To avoid reinfestation, you doctor may recommend that all affected household members be treated at the same time with the same 24 hour period.
Although scabies mites can’t live long without a human host, there have been a few cases of apparent transmission through infested clothing and bedding. Even so, heroic cleaning efforts are generally unnecessary. Normal hot water laundering of towels, linens, and all clothing used within the previous 48 hours is typically sufficient to prevent reinfestation. Clean clothes or heavy winter jackets and sweaters need not be cleaned.
Please see a physician or dermatologist for treatment options.