What is Impetigo?
A highly contagious skin infection, impetigo usually develops in infants and children although anyone can contract the infection. The most common occurrences of impetigo happen during the summer and early fall. Usually, impetigo is caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (staph) or Group A streptococcus (strep). Bacteria can live harmlessly on the body because the skin normally acts as a barrier to infection. If you have cuts and abrasions, these bacteria can enter the skin and produce impetigo which begins as small patches of blisters.
You contract impetigo either by coming in contact with someone that has the infection or when open sores cannot heal as in the cases that develop on the mouths and noses of young children. Impetigo spreads easily and thrives in environments like daycares and schools.
What are the causes of Impetigo?
Impetigo is caused by bacterial infections, typically Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes. The bacteria can enter the skin through cuts, scrapes, or other skin lesions and multiply, leading to the development of impetigo. Impetigo is highly contagious and can spread easily through close contact with infected individuals or by sharing towels, clothing, or other personal items that have come into contact with the bacteria.
Factors that increase the risk of developing impetigo include:
- A weakened immune system
- Crowded living conditions, such as in schools or daycare centers
- Poor hygiene
- Skin injuries, cuts, or abrasions
- Humid or warm weather
- Eczema or other skin conditions that cause dry, itchy skin.
It’s important to seek prompt treatment for impetigo to avoid spreading the infection and to prevent complications such as scarring or secondary skin infections.
What are the symtpoms of Impetigo?
The symptoms of impetigo typically include:
- Blisters or sores that can be red, yellow, or honey-colored and filled with fluid.
- Itching or burning skin around the affected area.
- Redness and swelling around the affected area.
- Crusting over of the blisters or sores.
- Formation of new blisters or sores.
It’s important to see a dermatologist if you experience any of these symptoms, as impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection that requires prompt treatment to prevent the spread of the bacteria and avoid potential complications.
What treatments are available for Impetigo?
The main treatment for impetigo is antibiotics, either in topical or oral form, to kill the bacteria causing the infection. Treatment options may include:
Topical antibiotics: Antibiotic creams or ointments applied directly to the affected area can help clear up the infection.
Oral antibiotics: Antibiotics taken by mouth may be prescribed for more severe cases of impetigo or when the infection has spread beyond a localized area.
Antiseptic care: Keeping the affected area clean and dry and using antiseptic creams or ointments can help promote healing and prevent the spread of the infection.
In addition to antibiotics, it’s important to practice good hygiene, such as washing hands regularly and keeping wounds covered, to prevent the spread of impetigo and reduce the risk of reinfection.
If you experience symptoms of impetigo, it’s important to see a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
FAQ About Impetigo
Is impetigo contagious?
Can impetigo leave scars?
In some cases, impetigo can cause scarring, especially if the sores are not treated promptly or if the infection spreads to surrounding skin.
When should I see a dermatologist for impetigo?
You should see a dermatologist if you experience symptoms of impetigo or if you have been in close contact with someone who has the infection. Early treatment can help prevent the spread of the bacteria and reduce the risk of complications.
Is there a dermatologist near me in Baton Rouge that offers treatment for impetigo?
Yes. At our Baton Rouge dermatology office we offer treatment for impetigo to patients from Baton Rouge and the surrounding area. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.