impetigo treatment leicester

Understanding Impetigo: Causes, Symptoms, and Risk Factors

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Impetigo, a highly contagious bacterial skin infection, is a common concern, especially among children. It presents as red sores on the face, particularly around the mouth and nose, and on the hands and feet. Though typically not serious, it can be uncomfortable and easily spread. Here, we delve into the causes, symptoms, and risk factors associated with impetigo, shedding light on this dermatological condition.

Causes of Impetigo

Impetigo is primarily caused by two types of bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. These bacteria can enter the body through breaks in the skin, such as cuts, insect bites, or existing skin conditions like eczema. Once inside, they multiply and cause infection.

Symptoms of Impetigo

The hallmark symptom of impetigo is the appearance of red sores, often around the mouth and nose, though they can also develop on other parts of the body. These sores quickly rupture, leaving behind a characteristic honey-coloured crust. In some cases, the lymph nodes near the affected area may swell. While impetigo is typically not painful, the sores can be itchy and uncomfortable.


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Risk Factors for Impetigo

Several factors can increase the risk of developing impetigo:

  • Age: Children between the ages of 2 and 5 are most susceptible due to their still-developing immune systems and close contact in daycare or school settings.
  • Poor Hygiene: Inadequate handwashing and poor personal hygiene can facilitate the spread of impetigo.
  • Warm Weather: Impetigo is more common in warmer climates as heat and humidity create an environment conducive to bacterial growth.
  • Skin Conditions: Individuals with pre-existing skin conditions, such as eczema or dermatitis, are at a higher risk as these conditions can compromise the skin barrier, allowing bacteria to enter more easily.
  • Close Contact: Living in crowded conditions or having close contact with someone who has impetigo increases the likelihood of transmission.

Transmission of Impetigo

Impetigo spreads through direct contact with the infected skin or indirectly through contaminated objects like towels, clothing, or toys. Scratching the sores and then touching other parts of the body or objects can also spread the infection.

How to Get Rid of Impetigo in 24 Hours

While impetigo typically requires medical treatment for complete resolution, there are steps individuals can take to manage symptoms and promote healing:

  • Antibiotic Ointment: Applying over-the-counter antibiotic ointments like mupirocin can help kill bacteria and speed up healing. Clean the affected area gently before applying the ointment.
  • Keep the Sores Clean: Wash the affected area with mild soap and water regularly to prevent the spread of infection and remove crusts. Pat the area dry with a clean towel.
  • Avoid Scratching: To prevent further irritation and spread of bacteria, avoid scratching the sores. Keep fingernails short and clean to reduce the risk of bacterial transfer.
  • Cover the Sores: If the impetigo sores are oozing or crusting, cover them with sterile gauze or a clean bandage to prevent the spread of bacteria and protect the skin from further irritation.
  • Seek Medical Advice: It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional, especially for severe or recurrent cases of impetigo. They may prescribe oral antibiotics or recommend other treatments based on the severity of the infection.


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Get Treatment for Impetigo

Impetigo, though common and usually mild, can cause discomfort and inconvenience. Understanding its causes, symptoms, and risk factors is crucial for prevention and management. While there are steps individuals can take at home to alleviate symptoms, seeking medical advice and following prescribed treatments are paramount for the effective management of impetigo. Additionally, practising good hygiene, especially in communal settings, can help prevent the spread of this contagious skin infection.


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This blog was written on behalf of The Local Pharmacy by Pharmacy Mentor.

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