A highly contagious skin infection, Impetigo results in sores and blisters appearing on the skin. It's very common and affects mainly children. Impetigo has two types:
Symptoms of Impetigo
Bullous impetigo: This type starts with fluid filled blisters (which can occur on limbs or the trunk of the body) which then spread very rapidly and then burst after a few days, leaving a yellow crust that heals, but leaves no scar. Blisters are not typically painful, but around the area can be itchy. It’s important to not scratch these. Fever and or swollen glands may occur.
Non-bullous: This type starts with red sores typically around the nose & mouth. Uncommon, but they ‘may’ occur on other areas of the face or on limbs. These sores burst quite quickly and leave behind a thick, golden crust. Once dry, they leave a red mark on skin but usually heal without scarring. Sores aren’t painful, but may be itchy. It’s important to not scratch these as it can result in a spread of the infection.
Symptoms do not appear for 4-10 days, so can be easily spread unintentionally as the carrier may not know they have it. It is believed to affect children more so due to their environments, such as schools and nurseries, as is these surrounding the infection can easily be spread.
Treatment for Impetigo
Make sure you take your child to the GP to get a definitive diagnosis as treatment for Impetigo is typically either with a prescribed antibiotic cream (topical) or tablets. Following treatment, the infection should clear up within 7-10 days and the time that the person is infected will also be reduced.
How to prevent Impetigo
- Hygiene is the best way to keep Impetigo at bay. Children should not attend nursery, playgroup or school until sores have dried up, blistered or crusted over or until 48 hours after starting treatment
- Visit your GP and treat cases quickly
- Don't share linen items such as towels or flannels with infected people, and wash them at a high temperature after use. Washable toys should also be washed at a high temperature.
- Do not touch sores!
- Wash hands frequently especially after touching infected skin
- Wash the sores with soap and water, and cover them loosely with gauze
- Cover cuts and grazes with a plaster or dressing so the infection cannot get into the open wounds and spread further around the body.