Parenthood is strife with worries about the children’s health and wellbeing. When a rash mysteriously appears overnight, stress levels can skyrocket. The infection called impetigo is a common culprit.
Impetigo primarily infects children near the mouth or nose, but it can affect adults, as well, and can appear anywhere on the body, especially after rubbing or scratching an infected area and immediately touching elsewhere.
The streptococcus aureus (strep) or staphylococcus pyogenes (staph) bacterium generally finds ingress to the body via breaks in the skin, but it can insinuate through unbroken areas, as well. Methicillin-resistant staph aureus causes an increasing number of cases of impetigo in addition to the strep aureus and staph pyogenes bacteria.
Impetigo often appears secondarily to other illnesses or injury-any condition that irritates or compromises integrity of the skin, including but not limited to:
- Cuts or scrapes
- Primary-condition rashes (such as those from poison ivy or poison oak)
- Insect bites
- Pet bites or scratches
- Human bites
- Eczema or dermatitis
- Burns from heat or contact (i.e., rug burns)
- Head colds or flu
- Allergy-related irritations
Impetigo is very rarely serious, but as with any infection, prevention is easier than cure. The bacterium that causes impetigo lives harmlessly on the skin’s surface until a catalyst prompts shallow absorption or entrance into the body. Taking a few simple actions can greatly reduce the chance of acquiring the infection. Among them are:
Wash the face and hands thoroughly and often.
Use soap and warm water. (Overusing anti-bacterial soap can hinder the immune system; do not use it often; regular facial soap will suffice.)
Wash clothes and bedding regularly.
Immediately put used tissues in the trash and wash hands and face.
Keep living area clean.
Use clean dishes and utensils.
When All Else Fails
Despite reasonable effort, people can still get impetigo, sometimes from unknowingly being exposed to friends and family members who may not know they have it. If the rash or modules just will not go away, confer with a physician for diagnosis and possible treatment options.