Impetigo is a contagious bacterial infection of the outer layer of the skin that can be caused by two bacteria: group A beta hemolytic streptococcus and staphylococcus aureus.
What are the symptoms of impetigo?
The disease most often occurs in preschool children, at the site of injury or insect bite, especially when they are in frequent contacts (kindergartens, etc.). Impetigo can also occur in adults, and the infection is favoured by various skin lesions, the existence of eczema, insect bite, burns and similar.
It can appear on the face and extremities in the form of red sores that develop into blisters that break open and ooze fluid.
After a few days the ruptured blisters form a honey-coloured (yellowish-brown) scab. Lesions spread peripherally very quickly and new ones appear, and after the scabs fall off they leave red marks that heal without scarring. The child feels well, there are no general signs of infection. In severe cases, regional lymph glands may be enlarged, and acute glomerulonephritis, a very rare complication, may develop in widespread streptococcal infection.
How is impetigo diagnosed and treated?
The diagnosis is made based on a clinical examination and it is confirmed by laboratory swab testing.
It is necessary to gently wash the skin with warm water and soap, to stop the infection from spreading, as well as to apply antibiotic ointments at least twice a day. Systemic antibiotics are prescribed if the lesions are widespread or if they do not respond to topical therapy.
With proper therapy and adequate hygiene, impetigo resolves within a week or two.
Since it is a contagious disease, it is necessary to take care not to spread it within a collective and family. It is also important sometimes to look for chronic carriers of the microorganism.