Impetigo, watch out for contagion

Impetigo, watch out for contagion

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Bacterial cutaneous infection, impetigo is manifested by clusters of red buds with crusts that start to bud or small bubbles, vesicles forming on the skin. It is benign, but extremely contagious, measures are required!

Impetigo, what is it?

  • This is a skin infection caused by bacteria, mainly staphylococcus aureus and sometimes streptococcus, which contaminate weakened parts of the epidermis (skin lesions, insect bites, scratches, cuts ...).
  • Impetigo can also occur after a skin condition such as eczema or chickenpox. This infection can manifest as a result of a cold, around an irritated nose.
  • Impetigo is very contagious, but most often benign.It can occur at any age, however it is more common in children under 4 years.

There are two forms:

  • Crusty impetigo, characterized by red pimples with pus, pustules that appear on an area of ​​red skin. These pustules quickly take on the appearance of crusts. It is the most common form in children: 70% of impetigo are crusty impetigo.
  • Bullous impetigo, characterized by an eruption of small vesicles, bubbles, localized most often on the face, the trunk, the end of the limbs and the genital region. This form of impetigo can be associated with great fatigue, fever and sometimes diarrhea. It is more contagious than crusty impetigo.

How is impetigo treated?

  • Impetigo is very contagious. It is spread by direct contact with the lesions, between people (touch, kiss), or indirectly with contaminated linen (cloth, towel). And by self-contamination too: during a rhino-pharyngitis, staphylococcus aureus can be in the nose and contaminate the irritated mucous membranes by sneezing or blowing nose.
  • To prevent the spread, some simple steps are needed. Trim your child's nails to prevent getting hurt by scratching. Make sure that he is washing well and regularly with his hands. Wash your clothes separately from the rest of the family. Gently clean the lesions with soap and water, before applying the local antibiotic as an ointment that the doctor will prescribe. And do not forget to wash your hands!
  • Be careful, even after applying the antibiotic ointment, lesions remain contagious between 24 and 48 hours. In general, the infection is controlled after three days. Allow about a week for a complete cure.
  • In some cases, the doctor may decide to combine oral antibiotic therapy with local treatment.

Frédérique Odasso