Impetigo

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Impetigo

Impetigo is an infection of the skin which affects adults but is most commonly found in children.

What to look for
It usually appears around the mouth and nose but in severe cases the body may also be affected. An impetigo infection begins with reddening skin and the development of small, fluid-filled blisters. The blisters often burst, revealing wet and weeping areas of skin underneath. As the fluid dries out it forms a  yellowish crust. Impetigo spreads rapidly if other parts of the body are touched after touching the blister. It is also very infectious to others. Unless treatment is sought outbreaks can last for several weeks. Outbreaks tend to be more common in warmer weather and in those who have poor standards of personal hygiene. Patients with impetigo do not feel ill but on rare occasions a kidney inflammation or blood poisoning may develop.

Causes
Impetigo is caused by bacteria, such as staphylococci or streptococci, entering the skin, often where there is damage such as a cut, cold sore, eczema or scabies. Impetigo is very contagious and spreads rapidly around institutions or families, often by direct contact or via flannels and towels. Children are more prone to the condition, and outbreaks can occur at schools, infected children should be kept home until the skin has cleared up. In the Western world outbreaks of impetigo are declining due to a general improvement in hygiene standards.

Dietary Considerations
If your immune system is under-functioning a zinc supplement may be advised.

Prevention
To prevent transmission to others, flannels, towels and bed linen should not be shared. Hands should be washed after touching the infected area.

When to seek further professional advice
If you think you might have Impetigo or have any of the symptoms you should consult your doctor.

Alternative Treatment

Western Herbalism: Treatment is based upon strong antiseptic remedies.
Spiritual Healing may be appropriate, because it stimulates the body's own powers of recovery, helping it to get rid of infection.
Other therapies include: Aromatherapy, Homeopathy, Hypnotherapy, Reflexology and Bach Flower Remedies.

Traditional Treatment

Impetigo can be controlled by careful hygiene and avoiding contact with those experiencing an outbreak. It can be readily treated with antibiotic creams but extensive infections may require oral antibiotics. Your doctor may consider it worth looking for a predisposing cause, such as scabies, and providing treatment. It is advisable to keep children away from school until the infection has settled. The doctor may advise that the loose crusts on the skin should be gently washed off with soap and water and the area dried with a towel prior to applying the antibiotic cream. This should be followed by immediate hand washing. Adults and children alike should avoid touching the affected areas.

The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment

Author - Body and Mind

Published - 2013-01-23