Impetigo: Definition, Treatment And Causes
Impetigo: Definition, Treatment And Causes

Impetigo: Definition, Treatment And Causes

Impetigo is a skin infection that primarily affects young children. There are two forms: bullous impetigo and nonbullous impetigo. We take a look at the condition and how it can be treated.

Definition: What Is Impetigo? 

Impetigo is a bacterial infection of the skin caused by staphylococcus aureus or streptococcus. It is the most common bacterial skin infection in children, especially between two and five years of age. It can also affect adults and is a very contagious infection.

Symptoms Of Impetigo

There are two forms of impetigo. Nonbullous impetigo is the most common (70% of cases). It is characterized by the appearance of vesicles (blisters), most often at the orifices, turning into pustules filled with pus. They are surrounded by an inflammatory red border. When these pustules break, they form yellow crusts.

The second type - bullous impetigo - is manifested by the appearance of transparent bubbles of one or two centimetres in diameter containing pus. After two or three days, the bubbles break, giving way to skinless areas called erosion. This form of impetigo may be associated with fever or diarrhoea.

The incubation period is one to three days for streptococcal infection and four to ten days for staphylococcal infection. Impetigo lasts an average of three days, but lesions take longer to heal completely. It remains contagious for a period of 24 to 48 hours.

Causes Of Impetigo

Impetigo is a bacterial condition. Its transmission is through direct contact with the lesions on the skin or indirect contact from contaminated objects. Those most at risk are those whose skin has been weakened by cuts, scrapes, burns or skin diseases such as chicken pox, eczema or herpes.

Treatment Of Impetigo

It is important to consult a doctor or pediatrician as soon as the symptoms appear to avoid complications (sepsis, abscess, lymphangitis). If the impetigo is small, local antibiotic treatment may be enough to cure the infection. If not, oral antibiotic treatment is necessary. It is most often composed of penicillin. In addition, it is recommended to observe certain hygiene measures: always wash your hands before and after any contact with the child, clean the lesions frequently with soap, prevent  the child from touching them  and scratching them as much as possible so that they do not contaminate other parts of their body and regularly change their clothes. Dressings are however not recommended to avoid maceration.

By Emma Jensen
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