What Treatments Are Available for Impetigo?

May 7th 2016

While impetigo is not usually considered a dangerous infection, the lesions can be quite painful, and the bacteria can spread rapidly between person to person. Additionally, complications such as scarring, cellulitis infections and kidney damage can occur if the condition is left untreated. Learning about the common symptoms and risk factors of impetigo and seeking medical attention at the first sign of infection can help to ensure immediate detection of the condition and efficient treatment.

Antibiotic Topical Creams

Topical antibiotic creams are often recommended for mild impetigo infections. The creams are applied to the skin three to four times daily for approximately seven days. It is important for caregivers to wear gloves when applying antibiotic creams to help prevent the spread of infection.

Oral Antibiotic Medications

Oral antibiotic medications are typically prescribed for severe impetigo infections. Antibiotics are typically taken two to four times daily for up to seven days or longer, depending on the extent of the infection. Side effects of oral antibiotics for impetigo include nausea and diarrhea. It is imperative that patients take the entire course of prescribed antibiotics to ensure the infection is eradicated, regardless of symptom improvement.

Eczema Treatments and Nasal Antiseptic Creams

While the majority of impetigo infections are treated with antibiotics, recurring infections often occur due to an underlying cause. If eczema is causing excessive itching and scratching that leads to recurrent impetigo infections, the underlying condition must be treated for the infection to cease. Eczema treatments often consist of topical moisturizers and antihistamines that help to promote moisture and relieve itching. If recurring impetigo infections are caused by a certain type of bacteria naturally present in the nose, nasal antiseptic creams may be prescribed to hinder any bacterial growth.

Conclusion

Impetigo is a skin condition that is extremely contagious and most often occurs in children. The condition presents as red lesions on the face, most commonly around the lips and nose. In certain cases, impetigo can develop on the hands, arms and diaper areas. When the sores burst, they ooze a clear liquid and scab over into honey-colored, grainy crusts. Impetigo is most contagious within the first 24 to 48 hours after symptoms develop.

Impetigo infections are typically caused by streptococcus bacteria and staphylococcus bacteria. Children with superficial skin abrasions are more likely to develop impetigo, as broken skin makes it easier for the germs to multiply. Fortunately, impetigo is usually easily treatable when caught in time. Understanding the treatment options available and consulting with a pediatrician can help parents make informed decisions regarding their children's treatment and recovery.

Sources

WebMD.com "Understanding impetigo - treatment" http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-impetigo-treatment
MayoClinic.org "Impetigo" http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/impetigo/basics/definition/con-20024185
KidsHealth.org "Impetigo" http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/skin/impetigo.html
WebMD.com "How is eczema diagnosed and treated?" http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/understanding-eczema-treatment
NHS.UK "Treating impetigo" http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Impetigo/Pages/Treatment.aspx

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