Impetigo Skin Infection

What is Impetigo?

Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection caused generally by the Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria. While Impetigo skin infection is most common among children, contact sports athletes are also susceptible.

Impetigo is commonly caused when the bacteria enter the skin through cuts, abrasions or insect bites. In many cases it may also affect the healthy skin. As the infection develops it causes red sores which develop into blisters.

What are the symptoms of Impetigo Skin Infection?

Impetigo generally appears as red spots which mature to blisters. These blisters eventually break open oozing fluid and develop a yellow-brown crust. These sores are accompanied by itching and may also cause pain in the infected area.
Though Impetigo can affect the skin anywhere on the body but it generally appears on face (especially around nose & mouth), hands and forearms.

Types of Impetigo

Impetigo Contagiosa
The most common form of impetigo is Impetigo Contagiosa. It usually begins as pimple-like lesions surrounded by reddened skin. These lesions get filled with pus, and then break down over 4–6 days and form a thick, honey-colored crust. Impetigo is often associated with insect bites, cuts, and other forms of trauma to the skin. Itching is common. People who suffer from cold sores have shown higher chances of suffering from impetigo. Those who normally suffer from cold sores should consult a doctor if normal treatment has no effect. Impetigo also causes flu-like symptoms which may cause fatigue, weakness of muscles, headaches and vomiting.

Bullous impetigo
Bullous impetigo primarily affects infants and children younger than 2 years. It causes painless, fluid-filled blisters - usually on the trunk, arms and legs. The skin around the blister is usually red and itchy but not sore. The blisters, which break and scab over with a yellow-colored crust, may be large or small, and may last longer than sores from other types of impetigo

Ecthyma is a more serious form of impetigo in which the infection penetrates deeper into the skin's second layer, the dermis. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Painful fluid- or pus-filled sores that turn into deep ulcers, usually on the legs and feet
  • A hard, thick, gray-yellow crust covering the sores
  • Swollen lymph glands in the affected area
  • Little holes the size of pinheads to the size of pennies appear after crust recedes
  • Scars that remain after the ulcers heal

How does Impetigo Spread?
Impetigo is highly contagious and can be transmitted through contact or by sharing towels, sheets, clothing or other items that come in direct contact with the infected skin. Scratching can also spread the sores to other parts of the body. It is not common in most adults except the athletes participating in contact sports like MMA, Wrestling, and Rugby etc.

How to Prevent & Treat Impetigo?

Impetigo can be prevented by maintaining good hygiene levels. For more Information visit: Impetigo Prevention & Treatment