How do dermatologists diagnose impetigo?
A dermatologist can often diagnose impetigo by looking at your skin.
Sometimes, lab tests are necessary to give you the diagnosis, or to get information necessary to treat you. If you need a lab test, a dermatologist often takes a sample from a blister on your skin. This can tell your dermatologist which bacteria are causing the infection.
If your dermatologist thinks that the infection could be widespread, you may need a blood test.
How do dermatologists treat impetigo?
An antibiotic usually cures impetigo
Dermatologists often prescribe an antibiotic that you apply to the skin, such as mupirocin or retapamulin.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved retapamulin to treat impetigo in children as young as 9 months old. Mupirocin is FDA approved to treat people 12 years of age and older.
When necessary, a dermatologist may prescribe one of these medicines to treat a child younger than the FDA-approved age. This is called off-label use and is legal. It can also be very helpful.
If a dermatologist prescribes an antibiotic you apply to the skin, you would apply it to the skin with impetigo. If you have several outbreaks of impetigo, you may need to apply it inside the nostrils. The bacteria that cause impetigo often thrive in the nostrils.
Sometimes stronger medicine is necessary. Your dermatologist can prescribe an antibiotic that you take by mouth. A few patients need injections of an antibiotic.
This also plays an important role in clearing impetigo. The following steps are often very helpful:
Soak the skin with impetigo in warm water and soap to gently remove dirt and crusts.
Apply the antibiotic (or other medicine) as prescribed.
Cover the skin with impetigo to help it heal and prevent spreading the infection to others.
If your child gets impetigo frequently, your dermatologist may recommend adding a small amount of bleach to your child’s bath, as follows:
Standard-sized bathtub (full)
When you fill the tub until the water reaches the overflow drain, as shown in this picture, you add:
- 1/2 cup of regular (not concentrated) bleach
Standard-sized bathtub (1/2 full)
When you fill the tub halfway, you add:
- 1/4 cup of regular (not concentrated) bleach
Baby (or toddler) bathtub
Fill the tub as you normally do, adding:
- 1 teaspoon of regular (not concentrated) bleach for each gallon of water
Unsure how many gallons the tub holds? Check with your child’s dermatologist before adding bleach.
Adding a small amount of bleach is safe when you follow your dermatologist’s directions. A bath that includes a small amount of bleach can reduce bacteria on the skin, which may prevent new infections.
Because impetigo is very contagious, a child may need to stay home from school for a few days. If this is necessary, your dermatologist will tell you when your child can return to school.
Teens and adults need not stay home, but they should take the following precautions to avoid infecting others:
Avoid direct skin-to-skin contact with others.
Keep blisters and sores covered with gauze bandages and tape.
Wash their hands after touching or treating infected skin.
Your dermatologist can tell you how long to take these precautions.
Dermatologists recommend treating impetigo. It can help cure the impetigo and prevent others from getting this highly contagious skin infection.
With treatment, impetigo is usually no longer contagious within 24 to 48 hours.
Without treatment, impetigo often clears on its own in two to four weeks. During this time, there is a greater risk of developing complications. You may see new blisters and sores.
It’s also possible for the infection to go deeper into the skin if you don’t treat. If this happens, you can develop ecthyma. This infection goes deeper into the skin than impetigo. As the skin heals from ecthyma, scars can form.
Ecthyma is more common in children, the elderly, and people who have diabetes. It also develops in people who are experiencing homelessness and combat soldiers fighting in a hot and humid climate.
If you see anything on your skin that looks infected, it’s best to see a board-certified dermatologist as soon as possible. An early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications and help you feel better.
Craft, N, Lee PK, et al. “Superficial cutaneous infections and pyodermas.” In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine (seventh edition). McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008: 1695-8.
Habif TP, Campbell, JL, et al. “Impetigo.” In: Dermatology DDxDeck. Mosby Elsevier, China, 2006: Card#46.
Halpern AV and Heymann WR. “Bacterial diseases.” In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. (second edition). Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008:1075-6.
Last updated: 3/11/21
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Impetigo (im-peh-TIE-go) is a bacterial infection of the skin that is most common in young children. Doctors use antibiotics to treat impetigo. Antibiotics can also help protect others from getting sick.
- Two Bacteria Can Cause Impetigo
- How Someone Gets Impetigo
- Signs and Symptoms
- Young Children Are at Increased Risk
- Doctors Diagnose Impetigo by How It Looks
- Antibiotics Treat Impetigo
- Serious Complications Are Very Rare
- Protect Yourself and Others
Two Bacteria Can Cause Impetigo
Impetigo is a skin infection caused by one or both of the following bacteria: group A Streptococcus and Staphylococcus aureus. This page focuses on impetigo caused by group A Streptococcus (group A strep). In addition to impetigo, group A strep cause many other types of infections.
How Someone Gets Impetigo
When group A strep infects the skin, it causes sores. The bacteria can spread to others if someone touches those sores or comes into contact with fluid from the sores.
Signs and Symptoms
Impetigo starts as a red, itchy sore. As it heals, a crusty, yellow or “honey-colored” scab forms over the sore.
In general, impetigo is a mild infection that can occur anywhere on the body. It most often affects exposed skin, such as around the nose and mouth or on the arms or legs.
Symptoms include red, itchy sores that break open and leak a clear fluid or pus for a few days. Next, a crusty yellow or “honey-colored” scab forms over the sore, which then heals without leaving a scar.
It usually takes 10 days for sores to appear after someone is exposed to group A strep.
Young Children Are at Increased Risk
Anyone can get impetigo, but some factors increase someone’s risk of getting this infection.
- Age: Impetigo is most common in children 2 through 5 years old.
- Infections or injuries that break the skin: People with scabies infection are at increased risk for impetigo. Participating in activities where cuts or scrapes are common can also increase someone’s risk of impetigo.
- Close contact or crowding: Close contact with another person with impetigo is the most common risk factor for illness. For example, if someone has impetigo, it often spreads to other people in their household. Infectious illnesses also tend to spread wherever large groups of people gather. Crowded conditions — such as those in schools and daycare centers — can increase the spread of impetigo.
- Climate: Impetigo is more common in areas with hot, humid summers and mild winters (subtropics), or wet and dry seasons (tropics), but it can occur anywhere.
- Poorpersonal hygiene : Lack of proper handwashing, body washing, and facial cleanliness can increase someone’s risk of getting impetigo.
Impetigo is a temporary, but highly contagious, bacterial skin condition. It is typically a children’s ailment, but adults are not immune and can contract it following an infection or other skin problem.
Impetigo is caused by either streptococcus pyogenes or staphylococcus aureus type bacteria. The bacteria can infect the skin when there is skin-to-skin contact with someone who already has impetigo or by touching things they have come in contact with (i.e.: bedding, toys, cups, etc.). The impetigo bacteria may also infect the skin if it has been broken or hurt, such as from an insect or animal bite.
Symptoms of Impetigo
All types of impetigo exhibit fluid-filled sores and blisters that appear around the nose, mouth, neck, hands, arms, or legs. It takes a few days for the sores to pop, drain, and scab over in a yellow crust. Symptoms generally last about three weeks.
Treatment may depend on the type of impetigo. Nonbullous impetigo is the most common type begins with sores around the nose and mouth. Swollen lymph nodes may occur.
Infants and toddlers (under the age of two) commonly contract bullous impetigo. Clear blisters initially appear on legs (around the diaper area), arms, and torso. Areas become red and itchy and the blisters eventually turn cloudy.
The most chronic impetigo is ecythma. It affects the skin layer beneath the top layer skin. Blisters are deeper, more painful, and result in ulcers or aggravated open sores that leave scars.
Naturally Treating Impetigo
Simple hygiene methods aid healing and help prevent impetigo from spreading. Soaking the scab areas in soapy water or in a water and vinegar solution helps soothe the areas and removes some scabbing. Wash the infected areas several times a day and cover with anti-bacterial gauze dressings.
• Heat kills bacteria, and applying heat directly from a blow dryer or bathing in hot water can help raise the body temperature to help kill the bacteria.
• Vinegar is a naturally effective bacteria eradicator. Because it generates a burning sensation to open sores, it is not recommended to directly apply it on the infected area(s). Instead, make a hot vinegar bath by adding one quarter part vinegar to a tub of hot bath water.
• Tea tree oil is one of the best non-irritant antifungal to fight the bacteria. It prevents as well as heals impetigo. The tea tree oil stimulates monocytes which are a vital part of the immune system. To be effective, mix 8-10 drops of tea tree oil with water or olive oil and apply it with a cotton ball over the affected area. Repeat this at least 3 times a day.
• Aloe Vera juice or gel is a natural skin moisturizer that relieves itching when applied on infected areas..
• Garlic is a natural detoxifier that has allicin, an active antibacterial that eradicates only the bad bacteria, leaving good bacteria intact. Three garlic cloves/capsules should be consumed daily at the first signs of impetigo symptoms.
Tanya Constantine / Getty Images
Skin infections can be common in dogs. This is in part due to the plethora of bacteria that normally lives on your dog’s skin. Impetigo, sometimes called puppy pyoderma, is a type of skin infection most commonly seen in young or adolescent dogs.
What is Impetigo (Puppy Pyoderma)?
Pyoderma is the clinical term for any type of skin infection. It literally means pus in the skin. Impetigo is most often caused by an overgrowth of Staphylococcus bacteria but it can be caused by other bacterial strains as well. It is often seen in puppies that have been housed in unhygienic areas but that doesn’t mean all puppies with impetigo live in a neglectful home. Again, it’s a skin infection brought on by bacteria normally already living on your dog’s skin. Impetigo isn’t a contagious condition, as it is in people, so you don’t have to worry about your dog catching it from another dog (or you catching it from your dog).
What are the Symptoms of Impetigo?
A dog with impetigo may have any combination of pustules (small, pus-filled bumps), papules (small, red, raised bumps), and epidermal collarettes (circular lesions with crusting around the edges). You may also notice your dog scratching the affected areas of the skin. Your dog may also start to exhibit hair loss. The areas most likely to be affected include your dog’s abdomen and chin. If your dog’s impetigo has progressed to a more severe case, they may also seem depressed, laying around the house more and possibly not eating as well.
What are the Causes of Impetigo?
The actual cause of impetigo is not well understood, but if your dog has a compromised immune system, endocrine system, or any skin damage they may be at a higher risk of getting it. Other factors that may increase your dog’s risk are flea infestation, a food allergy, insect bites, mange, or ringworm. Thyroid disease or other hormonal imbalances may also increase your dog’s risk of getting impetigo.
Some breeds may be predisposed to impetigo. This can include bully breeds such as Staffordshire Bull Terries, Bulldogs, and Boxers but can also include Shar-Peis. In some cases your dog’s impetigo may persist from adolescence into adulthood.
How is Impetigo Diagnosed?
Your vet will run diagnostics based on your dog’s clinical symptoms as well as their clinical history. Skin cytologies will let your vet know of any bacterial, fungal, or mite infestations. Blood tests will show if your dog has low thyroid levels. The best way to diagnose a food allergy is to undergo a diet trial. This involves feeding your dog a hydrolyzed prescription diet only for 8-12 weeks. No other foods, snacks, or treats can be given during this time.
How is Impetigo Treated?
Impetigo is an easily treated, fairly benign condition in dogs. In fact, some cases may even resolve on their own without treatment. If your dog’s impetigo does require treatment, impetigo is most commonly treated with a course of antibiotics. This can be topical if less severe or systemic (oral) if more severe. Usually your dog only needs to be on these antibiotics for a few weeks but more severe cases may require longer treatment. If your dog has any sensitivities or allergies to certain antibiotics, let your vet know. Your vet may also prescribe a shampoo you can use to help clear up your dog’s lesions. Impetigo is not life-threatening and usually remains localized, rarely spreading and rarely leading to deeper skin infections.
Since the true cause of impetigo isn’t fully known, preventing it can be tricky. You can’t really prevent hormonal imbalances or issues with your dog’s immune system. You can ensure they live in a clean environment free of any fleas, urine, or fecal material. Clean their bedding and toys frequently, using dye and fragrance free detergent for machine washable toys and mild dish soap for those toys that can’t go in a washing machine. Keeping them up-to-date on their flea prevention is also key. There are an abundance of flea preventions on the market, both available at pet supply stores and at your vet’s office. Not all flea preventions are the same, though. Your veterinarian can tell you which ones are good products and which ones to steer clear of.
Impetigo can be a nuisance to your growing puppy, but most cases are mild and most dogs do grow out of flare ups. If you have any questions about your dog’s impetigo, speak to your veterinarian.
Can you get impetigo from a dirty house?
It is caused when bacteria get into open skin.
Children do not get impetigo because they are dirty..
Does impetigo stay in your body forever?
Impetigo will go away within a few weeks on its own. (6) A doctor might prescribe an antibiotic for 7 to 10 days, though you will likely see a response within 72 hours, Oza says.
Can you catch impetigo from bed sheets?
Infection is also possible without skin damage. This can occur due to contact with items that an infected person has touched, such as bed linen, towels, clothing or toys. When should impetigo be suspected? The first sign of impetigo is an itchy, red area of skin.
Why does my impetigo keep coming back?
If your impetigo returns (recurs) A possible cause for this is that the bacteria that cause the infection can sometimes live in (‘colonise’) the nose. They do no harm there but sometimes spread out and multiply on the face to cause impetigo. If this is suspected, your doctor may take a swab of the nose.
Why do adults get impetigo?
Impetigo in adults usually results from injury to the skin, often from another skin condition, such as dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin. Children are usually infected after a cut, scrape, or insect bite, but infection may occur without apparent skin damage.
How fast does impetigo heal with antibiotics?
After you take the medicine for least 24 hours, the impetigo isn’t contagious anymore. After 3 days, the sores should begin to heal.
How long is impetigo contagious after starting antibiotic cream?
If you are taking an oral antibiotic, the infection usually stops being contagious after 24 hours of treatment. If you are using an antibiotic ointment instead, the sores will no longer be contagious when they stop oozing and are drying up.
How long is impetigo contagious without treatment?
It can help cure the impetigo and prevent others from getting this highly contagious skin infection. With treatment, impetigo is usually no longer contagious within 24 to 48 hours. Without treatment, impetigo often clears on its own in two to four weeks.
How do I clean my house after staph infection?
Wipe the surface or object with a disinfectant, and let it dry. Choose a commercial, phenol- containing disinfecting product. The EPA provides a list of EPA-registered products effective against MRSA. You can also use a mix of 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 quart of water (using a fresh mix each day you clean).
How long are you contagious with impetigo?
Impetigo can easily spread to other parts of your body or to other people until it stops being contagious. It stops being contagious: 48 hours after you start using the medicine your GP prescribed. when the patches dry out and crust over (if you do not get treatment)
How long does it take impetigo to crust over?
Symptoms include red, itchy sores that break open and leak a clear fluid or pus for a few days. Next, a crusty yellow or “honey-colored” scab forms over the sore, which then heals without leaving a scar. It usually takes 10 days for sores to appear after someone is exposed to group A strep.
Can I put Vaseline on impetigo?
How do you treat impetigo? While impetigo can certainly look unpleasant, it usually isn’t very painful, says Maguiness, though the bullous form is likely to be more uncomfortable than the non-bullous type. The infected area should be kept clean and moist with Vaseline or an over-the-counter ointment.
Does impetigo make you feel ill?
Impetigo can make the skin red, sore and itchy. There may be swollen glands. It is unusual to have a fever or feel very unwell.
Should I wash my impetigo?
Untreated, impetigo often clears up on its own after a few days or weeks, Smith says. The key is to keep the infected area clean with soap and water and not to scratch it. The downside of not treating impetigo is that some people might develop more lesions that spread to other areas of their body.
How do you get rid of impetigo overnight?
Clean and soak the sores three to four times a day until the sores heal. Gently clean the sores with warm water and soap, and then remove the crusts. Wash your hands thoroughly after treating the sores to avoid spreading the infection. Dry the area and apply the prescription antibiotic ointment as directed.
What can I put on impetigo to make it go away?
Most cases of impetigo are mild and manageable with a topical antibiotic….Home remedies for impetigoAloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) … Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla/Chamaemelum nobile) … Garlic (Allium sativum) … Ginger (Zingiber officinale)More items…•
How do you stop impetigo from spreading?
To help prevent impetigo from spreading to others: Gently wash the affected areas with mild soap and running water and then cover lightly with gauze. Wash an infected person’s clothes, linens and towels every day and don’t share them with anyone else in your family.
What impetigo looks like?
Occasionally, other conditions may look something like impetigo. Skin infections such as tinea (“ringworm”) or scabies (mites) may be confused with impetigo. It is important to note that not every sore or blister means an impetigo infection.
If you have one or more pimple-like lesions surrounded by reddened skin and pus-filled lesions which breaks, after four days, so it’s a symptoms of skin disease called impetigo.
So what is impetigo and Cause of Impetigo?
First, impetigo is a skin infection that is highly contagious. It produces blisters on the face and hands and a little of this skin condition is very common in children.
Children in kindergarden or school age children are probably infected with these bacteria, especially during the summer months. It is likely that their children may suffer from impetigo if the skin is irritated from injury, poison ivy, insect bites and skin allergies.
To prevent impetigo, which is important to be implement good hygiene practices at home. This will prevent bacteria from infecting someone in your home. In addition, any rash or a sore that is caused by poison ivy or any other irritation of the skin should not be scratched. You must remember that if scratched repeatedly can develop impetigo.
If your child has impetigo, it can be cured with antibiotics. This can help reduce the affected area, and also kills bacteria that is a basic Cause of Impetigo.Anywhere on the body impetigo may affect skin. However, commonly found in hands, arms, and around the nose and mouth.
Now when impetigo starts as small blisters, and gradually go out and leave a small patch of red skin damp seeping fluid and crust is brown or yellowish, covered area, this form of impetigo caused by group A streptococci.
However, when the bulbs are larger and the liquid inside the blister is clear at first, then it becomes boring, so this type of impetigo is due to Staphylococcus Aureus. Vesicles are likely to remain unchanged and do not explode.
You must remember that impetigo is contagious. Scratch and parts that affect other body will spread the infection. That is why it is important that you should avoid touching the infected area, as it will probably get infected too. If you know someone who has impetigo, you can avoid touching the affected area, even the clothes they wore are the Cause of Impetigo.
Remember that children can not resist the temptation to scratch wounds. So try to keep Cause of Impetigo like infections away and keep wounds covered. This will keep your child scratching the wound and effectively contain the infection.
You should contact a doctor if you begin to develop the Cause of Impetigo. They may recommend an antibacterial drug that can help in the treatment of impetigo. The key to treatment is to maintain good hygiene. Follow these tips, you can learn how to prevent the spread of the disease and to effectively monitor the impetigo.
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Most superficial skin infectious conditions are harmless and are easily treatable, while certain others are worrisome in the sense that they are highly contagious. A simple handshake or sharing a comb can transfer the bacteria causing infection to others.
Likewise, impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection that presents itself as fluid oozing blisters, crusty and sometimes painful sores.
What is Impetigo ?
Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacterial strains and not viruses, as some mistakenly believes. The bacterial strains in question here are either staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria. This is an infection which can be easily passed from person-to-person by any form of skin contact.
This contagious skin condition usually starts off as tiny inflamed and red raised skin spots, and at a rather fast rate turn into fluid-filled blisters that burst open and ooze out the fluid material, which when dried and crusted, look like honey crystals.
Recurrence of Impetigo
Unlike herpes, a condition brought on by virus, where the microorganisms lie dormant in the nerve endings even after successfully getting it treated, and becomes active when triggered; the impetigo causing bacteria does not lie dormant. Hence, when the condition is effectively gotten rid of with successful eradication of the bacteria, the infection ‘cannot come back again’. An individual, who had a prior impetigo episode, can only get re-infected by the infection by coming in contact with someone else who has the infection. There is no other way for this infection to re-appear.
Antibiotic topical applicants in a cream or ointment base are usually sufficient to effectively cure this skin infection, but when diagnosed early. In case the infection is more widespread, then antibiotic creams in combination with antibiotic oral pills will be required to check the growth of bacteria and its spread.
There is a possibility for the bacteria to develop resistance to a certain antibiotic used, at which time repeated antibiotic trails will have to be carried out to cure the condition.
Natural Treatment Options for Impetigo
Because impetigo is highly contagious, it is not recommended that patients try home remedies only to find a cure for this condition. Antibiotic creams and pills should be put to use initially, and usually within a couple of days starting the antibiotic treatment, the patient will not be able to transfer their infection.
Natural treatment methods can be used along with antibiotic treatment though, to support the body in healing the open sores in a quick manner.
– Apply tea tree oil (100%) over the blisters directly several times in a day. This natural oil can kill bacteria in an effective manner, and is safe for the skin when topically applied, seldom causing irritation or inflammation.
– Turmeric is a powerful antibacterial agent, popularly used in Indian cuisine. Freshly powdered turmeric powder mixed with rose or plain water and applied over the open blisters will kill the infection.
Turmeric taken internally will also help the body in fighting against the infection. Boil a glass of milk, add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder, simmer for some time and remove from flame. Cool and drink before bedtime every day until the infection heals.
Natural cures for skin disorders have been followed for thousands of years, but in the case of impetigo, traditional treatment methods should be the first line of therapy. Seek medical help immediately to prevent its spread.