Impetigo is a common skin infection caused by bacteria, typically Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes. It is highly contagious and can easily spread through close contact with an infected person or their belongings.
Impetigo is characterized by the development of red, oozing sores or blisters on the skin, which may be itchy or painful. The sores may eventually form a yellow-brown crust, which can easily spread to other areas of the skin.
Treatment for impetigo typically involves topical or oral antibiotics to help eliminate the bacteria causing the infection. Topical antibiotics may be prescribed for milder cases of impetigo, while more severe cases may require oral antibiotics. In addition, it is important to practice good hygiene, such as washing the affected areas of the skin with soap and water and avoiding close contact with others until the infection has cleared up.
In some cases, topical or oral corticosteroids may be prescribed to help relieve itching and inflammation associated with impetigo. In addition, it is important to avoid scratching or picking at the affected areas of the skin, which can increase the risk of spreading the infection or developing complications.
In most cases, impetigo is a minor skin infection that will clear up with treatment and is not associated with any long-term effects. However, in rare cases, complications can arise, especially if the infection is left untreated. Potential complications of impetigo can include:
- Cellulitis (a deeper skin infection)
- Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (a kidney condition)
- Rarely, sepsis (a life-threatening bloodstream infection)
It's important to seek prompt medical attention if you suspect you may have impetigo, particularly if the infection is spreading or accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or swelling. A dermatologist or healthcare provider can help to diagnose and treat impetigo and develop an appropriate treatment plan to address your individual needs.