“What is Infantigo?”. I have heard this question from many people until now. Infantigo is nothing but the other commonly used name of Impetigo by the people. Have you ever heard of Infantigo or Impetigo?
Infantigo or Impetigo is the infection of the skin caused by two types of bacteria called staphylococcus and streptococcus. This is a highly contagious skin infection which can spread from one person to another person. So, all the people need to be aware of all the aspects of Infantigo or Impetigo to take adequate measures for its prevention.
What is Infantigo or Impetigo
Infantigo or Impetigo is the infection of superficial layers of the skin caused by bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus Pyogenes. Of the two types of bacteria, Staphylococcus is more common amongst the regions with cold temperature. In other parts of the world, Infantigo can be caused by both the types of bacteria.
Infantigo is a crusted lesion that mostly appears on the face and also at the corners or edges of the mouth and nose. The lesions of Impetigo are honey colored. They are spread from one person to another in close-knit families. Sometimes, there can be community outbreaks of Infantigo.
Causes of Infantigo or Impetigo:
There are many causes or risk factors for the development of Infantigo or Impetigo. Let us look at all of them in detail.
The bacteria Staphylococcus and streptococcus exist as commensals on our skin without causing any problems or diseases. But they can enter the skin which is disrupted due to various reasons.
A person skin barrier can be breached or damaged due to many causes like cuts, burns, or any other type of trauma. Some types of diseases can also damage the skin like eczema. Even conditions like Poison Ivy and bites of the insects can enable easy entry of these bacteria leading to Infantigo.
Sometimes, when you develop a cold or flu, you tend to have a runny nose and the area or skin at the corners of the nose can become damaged. This can also lead to the easy entry of the Infantigo causing bacteria.
Infantigo can affect people of any age group. But, generally, these lesions tend to occur more commonly in kids below the age group of 5 years. The main reason for this is the tendency of these kids to hurt themselves and damage their skin easily. Also, they tend to have low immunity levels and they catch infections easily.
If you live in any crowded or congested areas, you tend to develop Infantigo very easily. Overcrowding facilitates an easy spread of various infections. Some examples of such crowded areas are schools, childcare centers, play schools, close-knit communities, etc.
Infantigo can occur throughout the year. But, more commonly it occurs during summers. During summer, the weather is warm and humid. You tend to sweat a lot during this time. This facilitates easy penetration of the bacteria through the skin.
If you ever participated in any type of contact sport you might be aware that you are in close contact with another players skin while playing. So, you might contract any infection or skin disease like Infantigo if the other player is suffering from it.
Using common clothing:
If you use the towels, napkins or clothes of another person suffering from Impetigo or Infantigo, you can also develop Infantigo lesions.
Symptoms of Infantigo or Impetigo:
Infantigo is a type of skin rash which mainly develops on the face. Let us explore all other symptoms of Infantigo.
There is the development of red colored sores where the bacteria like staphylococcus or streptococcus affects your skin. These sores can be popped easily. They rupture or break eventually and lead to yellow colored crusts.
There is a type of Impetigo called bullous Impetigo in which there is the formation of large blisters on the skin. These blisters are filled with fluid. They are generally seen on the trunk.
Itching or Pruritus is another symptom of Infantigo. People or kids having Impetigo tend to scratch their red sores or lesions a lot.
Types of Infantigo or Impetigo:
There are mainly two types of Infantigo. They are mainly characterized based on the presence or absence of bullae.
This is a rarer form of Impetigo with the presence of bullae. Bullae are nothing but fluid filled blisters which are large. These blisters are seen on the chest, abdomen, and the back.
This is the most common type of Impetigo. In this type of Impetigo, there are no bullae or blisters. It has red sores which rupture and form yellow to brown colored crusts.
It is also a rare form of Impetigo. It is also the most severe type of Impetigo. In this condition, the affected person develops blisters on the skin that are filled with fluid and also pus. These blisters can penetrate into deeper layers of skin and lead to the formation of ulcers.
Is Impetigo Contagious?
Yes, Infantigo is contagious. It can be spread from one person to another person by skin to skin contact. It can also spread by using common clothing. So, you need to remain isolated in your house until you complete one day after starting your antibiotics. Also, kids need to be isolated at the home and not sent to school until one day after starting antibiotics.
Complications of Infantigo:
Most types of Impetigo or Infantigo heals without any complications. But, sometimes it can cause certain complications.
The bacteria causing Infanbtigo can also damage the kidneys and lead to renal failure or kidney failure. It is mainly due to the development of a condition called post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis.
It is the swelling or inflammation of the subcutaneous tissues which are present under the skin. The bacteria causing Impetigo can penetrate deeper into the skin layers and lead to cellulitis. Cellulitis if left untreated can lead to septic shock and become life threatening.
Ecthyma, a severe form of Infantigo can lead to the formation of ulcers. These ulcers heal by the formation of scars.
Diagnosis of Infantigo:
Generally, any lab investigations or tests are not necessary for the diagnosis of Infantigo. It can be diagnosed by physical examination by an experienced physician or dermatologist. They look at the lesions caused by Infantigo like blisters or honey-colored crusts and then identify the condition.
Then they prescribe antibiotics to treat the problem. If the lesions don’t heal after a course of antibiotics, then it might be due to the development of antibiotic resistance in those bacteria.
Then your physician might suggest you tests like Bacterial culture and sensitivity determine which antibiotics can kill these bacteria. The fluid oozing out from your lesions is sent for this test.
Treatment of Infantigo:
Infantigo or Impetigo is mainly treated with the application of antibiotic creams over the lesions and the affected people are also isolated.
Clean your lesions:
You need to wash the skin area over your lesion to get rid of the scabs and crusts over the lesions. You can wash the skin with an antiseptic soap and lukewarm water.
An antibiotic cream containing an antibiotic called Mupirocin is prescribed to treat Infantigo. While washing the lesions and applying this cream, be sure to use gloves on the hand you are using. Otherwise, the infection can spread to this hand as well.
After washing the affected area with soap and water and getting rid of crust, apply Mupirocin over the lesion. Your physician might also suggest you use oral antibiotics depending on the need and severity of your lesions.
Infantigo is highly contagious. So, you need to remain isolated in your home until 24 hours or 1 day after using Mupirocin antibiotic cream. You need to follow this strictly to avoid spreading the infection to other people.
Home remedies for Infantigo:
You ned to follow the prescribed treatment regimen by your doctor to get rid of Infantigo. But, you can use some home remedies to alleviate your symptoms faster.
Aloe vera gel:
Aloe vera gel has soothing properties. It also helps in skin repair and is generally used as part of various skin care treatments. Just take some Aloe vera gel and apply it over the lesions. You will notice that your itching will reduce in intensity and it will feel less painful over the affected skin.
Impetigo and other bacterial infections primarily affect the people with weak immune system. So, you need to eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals to strengthen your immune system and fight the harmful bacteria like streptococcus and staphylococcus.
Make nuts, green leafy vegetables, fruits, citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, proteinaceous foods like milk a regular part of your diet.
Tea tree oil:
Tea tree oil is an essential oil with innumerable health benefits. It has antibacterial properties. Just take few drops of tea tree oil and apply it over the affected skin with Impetigo lesions. It will help in the healing of the lesions by killing the bacteria. It will also provide a calming effect on the skin and you will feel much better and relaxed.
Honey has antiseptic properties. Manuka honey is a very good type of honey to heal skin lesions. Apply some Manuka honey over the lesions. It will help in healing the lesions fast by killing the causative microbes.