Impetigo is a skin infection that mainly affects infants and children less than six years old. However, it can still occur to people in any age group. It flourishes in crowded conditions, in any activity that involves skin-to-skin contact such as certain sports, and in warm humid weather. Several types of this skin infection exist.
What Causes This Skin Infection?
Either staphylococcus aureus or staphylococcus pyogenes bacteria cause impetigo. Usually, the infection develops when either of these bacteria enters the body through a problem with the skin such as cuts, insect bites, eczema, poison ivy, chicken pox, or an allergic skin reaction. However, this skin infection may also develop in skin that has not been damaged by these conditions. Because we are dealing with an infection, a treatment is necessary.
This type can affect any area of the body, but usually affects the facial area, in particular the areas around the nose and mouth. The hands and forearms are also more likely to be affected than other body parts.
The onset is characterized by the appearance of an itchy red sore or blister or cluster of small blisters. The sores or blisters rupture in a short amount of time (about 24 hours) and ooze fluid or pus for a few days. After this time period, a yellowish brown crust forms in the affected area. The crust has been described as having the colour and appearance of honey or brown sugar.
Bullous is a form of this skin condition characterized by painless blisters on the trunk, arms, and legs. Children less than two years old are usually susceptible to this form. The blisters vary in size and can last longer than the sores described for contagiosa. Along with blisters, the child may experience fever, diarrhea, and a general feeling of fatigue or weakness.
This is the most serious form of the skin problem and often occurs in individuals suffering from diabetes. The infection associated with this skin problem penetrates into the second layer of the skin. The affected individual will experience symptoms such as fluid or pus filled sores, usually on the legs and feet, which are painful and eventually develop into skin ulcers. The sores have a hard, thick, grey-yellow crust over them that form scars after the ulcers heal.
There are several impetigo treatment options available to deal with this skin care problem.