Have you noticed that your child has small, red, pimple-like bumps around their nose or mouth, or on other areas of their body? If so, they may have impetigo. While this condition is not usually harmful, it is highly contagious, so quick treatment is recommended. Contact Pinnacle Dermatology & Skin Rejuvenation for an appointment with Dr. Gray to get your child back to feeling their best in no time!
What is Impetigo?
Impetigo is a contagious skin condition that is common in young children ages 2-6. It is usually caused by staphylococcal bacteria (staph) but can also be caused by streptococcal bacteria (strep). These bacteria can enter the body through a small cut or even an insect bite. This condition is contagious and is spread by contact with sores, though touching clothing and towels that are infected, or nasal discharge from an infected individual.
Symptoms of impetigo begin with red sores, usually around the nose and mouth. These sores will rupture, ooze, and then crust over. They will be itchy, but it is important to try to avoid scratching, as this can cause the sores to spread.
Treatment Options for Impetigo
For individuals with mild to moderate impetigo, this condition can clear up on its own within a few days or weeks. However, if you choose to leave it untreated, it may spread to other areas of the body and more lesions may form. Plus, you can infect others, so it is recommended that you see a doctor for treatment, which includes prescription antibiotic cream or topical antibiotics. Follow these steps when applying your prescribed ointment for the best results:
- Soak the affected area in warm water or use a clean, wet compress for a few minutes. Then gently pat the area dry and remove any scabs so that the antibiotic can penetrate the skin.
- Apply your prescription antibiotic ointment. This should be applied to the sores 2-3 times daily for 5-10 days
- Place a bandage over the area to help to prevent the spread of sores.
Tips for Preventing Impetigo
There are some steps that you can take to prevent your child from contracting impetigo. These include keeping the skin clean and regularly washing cuts, scrapes, and insect bites.
If your child has already been diagnosed with impetigo, follow these steps to help prevent spreading the infection to others:
- Gently wash any affected areas with mild soap and water, and then cover with a gauze.
- Wash your child’s clothes, towels, and bed linens every day with hot water, and be sure not to share these items with other people.
- Wear gloves when applying prescription antibiotic ointment to the sores and wash your hands afterward.
- Trim your child’s fingernails, so that if they do scratch their lesions, less damage will be done.
- Keep your child home until your doctor says that they are no longer contagious.