How Can I Prevent The Spread Of Impetigo?

How can I prevent the spread of impetigo

Impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection commonly affecting children, but it can also occur in adults. It often presents as red sores on the face, especially around the nose and mouth and on hands and feet.

These sores quickly rupture, ooze for a few days and then form a yellowish-brown crust. Understanding the impetigo symptoms, its causes and the right impetigo treatment methods can help prevent its spread and manage the infection effectively.

Recognising the Signs of Impetigo

The first step in preventing the spread of impetigo is recognising its signs. Impetigo symptoms typically begin as red or pimple-like sores that can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly seen on the face (impetigo face), arms and legs. These sores can spread to other parts of the body through touch, clothing and towels.

There are mainly two types of impetigo: non-bullous impetigo, which is more common and typically features sores that burst and develop honey-colored crusts; and bullous impetigo, which is characterised by larger blisters filled with fluid.

Causes and Transmission

Impetigo infections are primarily caused by two types of bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. The infection can occur on normal skin, but it more commonly affects skin where there is a small cut, scrape or insect bite, providing an entry point for bacteria.

This bacterial skin infection is particularly prevalent in humid conditions and can spread quickly in close environments such as schools and daycares, making childhood impetigo a common occurrence.

Transmission of the disease is mainly through direct contact with the sores of an infected person or through contact with items they have touched, such as towels, bedding, toys or clothing. It’s also possible to spread the infection within one’s own body by touching the sores and then touching another part of the body.

Effective Strategies to Prevent Spread

Effective prevention of impetigo spread hinges on strict hygiene and careful interaction with infected individuals. Key strategies include frequent handwashing, avoiding shared items and meticulously following prescribed treatments to halt the transmission of this highly contagious skin infection.

  • Maintain Good Hygiene: Regular hand washing with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of impetigo. Encourage children to wash their hands frequently, especially before meals and after playing.
  • Avoid Sharing Personal Items: Since impetigo can spread through contact with contaminated items, it’s important not to share towels, clothing, bed linens and toys with someone who is infected.
  • Cover the Infected Areas: Keep the impetigo rash covered with gauze and tape or a loose plastic bandage. This helps to protect the sores from spreading the infection to other parts of the body and to other people.
  • Keep Nails Short and Clean: This reduces the risk of damaging the skin around a sore, which can spread the infection and also minimises the risk of accumulating bacteria under the nails that could spread to others.
  • Avoid Touching the Sores: Touching or scratching the sores can spread the infection to other parts of the body or to other people. Keeping children’s fingernails short and clean can help reduce this risk.
  • Use Antibiotics Properly: Impetigo treatment often involves antibiotics, either as an ointment or oral medication, to help control the infection. It’s crucial to follow the doctor’s instructions and complete the full course of treatment, even if the symptoms improve, to ensure all the bacteria are eliminated.
  • Wash Contaminated Items: Wash the clothes, bed linens and towels of an infected person using hot water and detergent. These items should be washed separately from other laundry to avoid spreading the bacteria.
  • Stay Home if Infected: Children with impetigo should stay home from school or daycare until they’re no longer contagious — usually 24 hours after beginning antibiotic treatment. This helps reduce the spread to other children.
  • Manage Stress and Overall Health: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making it easier for infections like impetigo to take hold. Maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and ensuring adequate sleep can help boost overall health and resistance to infections.

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Impetigo, though highly contagious, can be effectively managed with proper care and hygiene. Recognising the early signs of impetigo, taking immediate and appropriate actions for treatment and adopting preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of spreading the infection.

If you’re concerned about symptoms of impetigo or need guidance on effective treatment options, don’t hesitate to book an online consultation with Pharmacy to My Door’s Pharmacy First. Our experts are ready to provide you with personalised advice and support, ensuring you receive the care you need from the comfort of your home.

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