Impetigo is a highly infectious skin ailment that usually affects face, neck, arms and legs. Due to its contagious nature, the disease is often common among individuals involved in activities that required human contact such as people participating in sports such as wrestling. Although, anyone can catch this disease, but children and infants are most vulnerable to it.
The bacteria responsible for afflicting this ailment are known as streptococcus pyogenes and staphylococcus aureus. These bacteria look for an opening to penetrate through the skin. The opening can be provided by a bruise, wound, abrasion, insect bit or some other injury. Diseases which render the skin weakened and prone to penetration such as eczema and scabies also result in penetration of skin by the aforementioned bacteria.
There are several different types of Impetigo namely; impetigo contagious, bullous impetigo and ecthyma.
Several factors result in causing this disease, some of which are;
- Poor diet and personal hygiene
- Hot and humid weather
- Regular attendance of daycares or schools
- Being already afflicted with other skin ailments such as dermatitis, diabetes or weakened immune system
Impetigo is infamous for its contagious nature and rapid spreading. So, it is highly advised to start its treatment, either through home remedies or through consultation with the doctor (if the symptoms are getting progressively worse) as soon as the emergence of the symptoms.
The most common type of impetigo is non bullous impetigo and it is characterized by tiny blisters on the outer surface of the skin that later on develop into red sores which are filled with honey or yellow colored fluid which oozes out upon rupturing of the said sores. (Usually within a couple of days after their emergence). After rupturing, the sores turn into small crusted areas characterized by their brown color. These sores often develop around the mouth and nose area but can also be found on other parts of the body such as hand and arms.
Bullous impetigo is a type of impetigo that is not as common as other types. It is usually caused by a bacterium known as S. aureus and is characterized by development of larger blisters which are not as likely to burst as the blisters developed due to a non-bullous impetigo. The blisters resulting from bullous impetigo are usually found around chest area, abdomen area and diaper area of children and infants.
The most harsh and severe type of impetigo is known as ecthyma caused by the bacteria known as Streptococcus. Stapphylococcus or bacteria responsible for Staph disease may also afflict this disease upon its host. This type of impetigo mostly originates from around the leg area. Ecthyma is also infamous by the moniker of deep impetigo owing to its deeper penetration into the skin as compared to other types of impetigo. The symptoms are largely similar to the other types of impetigo. Ecthyma is characterized by red blisters. Ulcers with crust colored brown and black emerge after the blisters have ruptured. These ulcers will need to be treated upon in order for them to vanish unlike blisters which burst and go away on their own.
In case of emergence of symptoms of impetigo in children and infants, it is highly recommended to visit your family doctor to ascertain if the blisters and symptoms are indicative of impetigo and to guide you towards the most appropriate course of action and treatment.
1: Avoid Touching It
Although, this is not a remedy, but it is a precaution that needs to be highly stressed upon to avoid exacerbating the already worse condition of your skin and this disease. This infection is highly contagious and therefore, touching it is highly discouraged. If you touch the affected area by mistake, wash your hands with an anti bacterial soap or liquid hand wash and avoid contact with other individuals before you have washed your hands in order to avoid this infection from spreading to your family members or associates.
2: White Vinegar
In order to hasten the healing and recovery of the skin, it is imperative to keep the affective area clean and sterilized. This purpose can be achieved with the help of an antibiotic liquid or you can employ white vinegar to create your own antibiotic solution to clean up the affected area. The white vinegar antibiotic solution is effective in hampering the growth of responsible bacteria to other parts of the body and in drying up the affected area. You can prepare the antibiotic wash by mixing 1 tablespoon of vinegar in approximately 2 cups of lukewarm water. Use a cotton swab moistened with the prepared solution and dab the infected area of the skin with it. Rinse it clean after a couple of hours and upon drying of skin, apply an antibiotic ointment on the dried up area. Keep doing this 2-3 times a day regularly until the disease subsides.
3: Heat Therapy
Heat therapy is known to be quite effective in treatment of impetigo. The utility of heat lies in the fact that heat can help sterilize the affected areas of the skin by killing off the bacteria residing there as well can help in drying up the skin and closing up sores and lesions on the surface preventing the condition from exacerbating any further. For heat application, soak a washcloth with warm water. Squeeze the washcloth to get rid of the excess liquid. Dab the affected areas gently with the washcloth and keep it on there for a few minutes. Repeat this exercise several times a day. You can also utilize a blow dryer for heat therapy on the skin but take special care to ensure that the blow dryer is set to its minimum setting before its use directly in the skin.
4: Tea Tree Oil
The tea tree oil is renowned for its anti bacterial and anti microbial properties that are quite effective in eliminating the bacteria responsible for Impetigo. In addition to its remedial properties against this disease, the tea tree oil also provides relief from irritation and skin inflammation caused by Impetigo.
Add 10-20 drops of tea tree oil in a table spoon of olive oil. Apply the resultant mixture on the affected area with the help of a cotton swab. Repeat this exercise 2-3 times daily until the symptoms subside.