Impetigo is an extremely contagious skin disease caused by bacteria, typically “staph” (Staphylococcus) or “strep” (Streptococcus) bacteria. Children ages 2 to 5 years of age are the most likely to develop the disease, but older children and adults can also experience it. Furthermore, impetigo can spread to other parts of the body without caution. To help prevent the spread of this highly contagious disease, your Compassion Dermatology dermatologist in Southlake, TX recommends the following.
- If you or your child has been diagnosed with impetigo, avoid direct skin-to-skin contact with others to help prevent the spread of impetigo until you re no longer contagious.
- Impetigo is contagious until you have been treated with an antibiotic for 24 to 48 hours.
- Avoid touching and scratching the sores to avoid spreading the infection to other areas of your body.
- Keep the sores clean and covered. Clean the sores with soap and water as recommended by your dermatologist, and cover them with gauze bandages. Wash your hands when your treatment is complete. Use a clean washcloth and towel each time you provide wound care or use paper towels. In addition, use the same practice when you bathe.
- Do not share personal items with others. Examples include, towels, toys, razors, and other items.
- Launder all clothing, towels, washcloth and the sheets you have used or worn in hot water. Do not wash other household members’ clothing with those of the infected.
- In order to prevent the spread of impetigo, disinfect all surfaces the infected person has touched, including door knobs, or any other surfaces.
- Trim your child’s nails as impetigo can be itchy. Ask your dermatologist in Southlake, TX about using an anti-itch medication for your child.
Impetigo is extremely contagious, so it may not be possible to avoid getting it again. Doing the following, however, can reduce your risk:
- Treat wounds, such as a cut, scrape, pet scratches, insect bite, or any other wound, promptly. Wash it with soap and water, and apply an antibiotic ointment and a bandage.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet and when they are dirty. Always use a clean towel or paper towel to dry your hands.
- As with treating those already have impetigo, do not share items to prevent the spread.
- Don’t wear dirty clothes out of the laundry.
A dermatologist in Southlake, TX can typically diagnose impetigo by looking at the skin. Occasionally, a lab test may be required, obtaining a sample from a blister. This will identify the type of bacteria affecting your skin. When the symptoms indicate the infection may be widespread, a blood test may be ordered.
Because impetigo is so contagious, your child may need to stay home from school/daycare for a few days. Your dermatologist in Southlake, TX often prescribe a special antibiotic that is applied to the affected skin. In severe cases, oral or injectable antibiotics may be prescribed. Without medical treatment, it is possible for impetigo to infect deep in the skin, with deeper erosion. When this occurs, it is called ecthyma, which can lead to scarring. However, this isn’t the only potential complication of untreated impetigo. Additional potential complications related to impetigo include cellulitis, meningitis, or post streptococcal glomerulonephritis.
Early diagnosis and treatment by a Compassion Dermatology, dermatologist in Southlake, TX can prevent complications from occurring.
The Two Types
Impetigo is considered the non-blistering type, or the blistering type.
The non-blistering type presents as tiny pimples or red areas quickly turning into oozing honey-colored, crusted patches that spread. There may be complaints of itching, and swollen lymph nodes are possible. The affected person generally feels otherwise well.
The blistering form differs in that it spreads more frequently .
- Painless blisters (about an inch or less) occur that may break easily.
- These can spread to the face, trunk, arms, or legs.
- The person feels generally well.
The severe form may present with large lesions, and the person is likely to feel ill, and experience fever, weakness and diarrhea. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact our dermatologist in Southlake, TX.
When to Seek Medical Care
If the infection is moderate to severe or there is fever or pain, see a dermatologist in Southlake, TX. Generally, with any infection that is not improving see your doctor. If you are already being treated for impetigo and there has been no improvement within 2–3 days of antibiotics, return to your doctor.
Staphylococcus aureus is a strain of “staph” bacteria. Staph that is resistant to penicillin antibiotics is commonly called MRSA, and is a common cause of skin infections. While MRSA bacteria are resistant to penicillin and penicillin-related antibiotics, most staph infections can be easily treated by health care practitioners using local skin care and commonly available non-penicillin-family antibiotics.
A Staph infection typically begins as small red bumps or pus-filled bumps, which turn into deep, painful sores. If you see a red bump or pus-filled bump on the skin that is worsening see your doctor right away. Your doctor may need to obtain a culture of the infected skin for MRSA before starting antibiotics. To prevent spread of infection to others, infected wounds, hands, and other exposed body areas should be kept clean and wounds should be covered during therapy. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, be sure to take the full course. If you suspect a staph infection, contact Compassion Dermatology for a dermatologist in Southlake, TX.
For the treatment of impetigo, or other skin conditions, contact Compassion Dermatology to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist in Southlake, TX. We offer professional services in a relaxing atmosphere. Our dedicated dermatology practice and holistic approach help to ensure both your health and well being.