Hey there, parents! Curious about Impetigo, commonly known as "school sores"? Well, you're in the right place. In this blog, we're going to dig deep into this contagious skin condition caused by Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. We'll cover everything from spotting its signs and symptoms to practical tips and natural solutions on how to keep it from spreading.
Getting To Know Impetigo: The Basics
Impetigo, or "school sores," is something that can affect our kids, especially during the warmer months. It's caused by Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria, and while these bacteria often live harmlessly on the skin and in the body, even a tiny cut, eczema, or a scrape can give them a chance to cause trouble. Surprisingly, even perfectly healthy skin can sometimes fall victim to Impetigo.
Recognising Impetigo's Telltale Signs
Itchy, Red Skin Impetigo usually starts with itchy and red skin. It's easy to mistake for a harmless rash, but it's essential to keep an eye on it, especially if your child complains of itchiness.
Blisters Galore Soon after the redness, you might notice clusters of blisters forming, mostly around your child's nose and mouth. These blisters are small, filled with fluid, and can be a bit painful.
Oozing Blisters As the infection progresses, these blisters can burst and release a yellow, sticky fluid. That fluid is highly contagious and can easily spread the infection to others through touch.
Crusty Layer As the infection continues to heal, the affected area forms a raised, wet-looking crust. It might not be pretty, but it's a sign that the body is fighting back.
Healing Scabs Over time, those crusts dry up and fall off, leaving behind healed skin. It's a positive sign that the infection is on its way out.
When Things Get Serious
In rare cases where a larger area of the skin is affected, your child might develop additional symptoms like fever, swollen lymph glands, or just a general sense of not feeling well. While these symptoms aren't common, it's essential to reach out to a healthcare professional if you notice them.
Diagnosis and How to Treat It
Diagnosing Impetigo is usually something that experienced doctors can do just by looking at it. They might also swab the blisters or crust to confirm the presence of Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria or there is a risk of a MRSA infection. Treatment can vary, but it often includes prescription antibiotic ointments, antibacterial creams, or tablets.
Taking Care of Impetigo at Home
If your child has Impetigo, here's what you can do at home to speed up the healing process and prevent it from spreading:
- Keep It Clean Wash those sores (or "lesions," as the doctors call them) every 8 to 12 hours using antibacterial or antiseptic soap. Gently soak off any visible crust to keep the area clean and reduce the risk of more infection. Our Calming Body Wash is a brilliant all-rounder that can help keep the skin clean. This pH-balanced, toxin-free body wash is infused with certified organic Mānuka oil, making it perfect for the whole family. It delivers exceptional all-over body cleansing to help reduce skin irritation. Suitable for sensitive, irritated, and itchy skin, eczema-prone skin, cradle cap, molluscum, school sores, cuts, scrapes, burns, and blemishes. This versatile product also works as a shampoo for little ones and even makes a great natural bubble bath. It's truly an all-around superstar.
- Dry It Thoroughly After each wash, pat the sores dry using a clean towel. Remember, a fresh towel each time keeps things hygienic.
- Using a Natural Moisturiser Apply a moisturiser to help soothe the skin and aid in skin barrier repair. Our Eczema Relief Body Lotion made with certified organic Mānuka oil is an excellent choice. It's Manuka Biotic's #1 selling product, providing much-needed relief from itchy skin conditions such as eczema. Specially formulated with natural ingredients, it soothes and repairs dry, irritated, and itchy skin.
- Cover It Up Apply a waterproof occlusive dressing to cover and protect the affected area, if needed. In some cases, you might need to use a crepe bandage to keep it all in place.
- Seek Help If things seem to be getting worse or spreading despite your efforts, or if your child develops a fever, it's time to consult a doctor. Don't wait - early medical attention can make all the difference.
- Change Those Linens Swap out your child's sheets, towels, and clothes daily while the infection is still around. It might sound like a lot, but it's an excellent way to keep things clean and prevent recontamination. Adding a few drops of our certified organic Mānuka oil to a hot wash will help.
Preventing the Spread of Impetigo
Since Impetigo is super contagious, taking steps to stop it from spreading is essential. Here's what you can do:
Wash Those Hands Encourage your little ones to wash their hands regularly with soap or our Calming Body Wash and make sure they dry them properly. Good hand hygiene goes a long way. Our Hand Cream is a great product to create a protective layer on the skin barrier.
Keep 'em Home If your child has Impetigo, it's best to keep them home from school or daycare until they've started treatment and are no longer contagious.
Trim Those Nails Cut your child's fingernails short to discourage scratching or picking at the sores. This can help prevent further skin damage and more potential infection.
No Touching! Advise your child not to touch or scratch the sores, and maybe consider using a crepe bandage if needed to keep the area protected.
Clean and Cover Keep the affected skin clean and cover it with a soothing Body lotion, or a waterproof dressing if needed. It helps stop the infection from spreading and speeds up the healing process.
Handwashing Rules Always make sure your child washes their hands with soap before and after touching Impetigo sores or scabs. This simple habit can significantly reduce the risk of spreading the infection.
Personal Towels Have your child use their towels and face cloths, and remind them not to share them with others while they have Impetigo.
Wash Those Linens Don't forget to toss your child's sheets, towels, and clothes into the washing machine with hot water with some Mānuka oil while the infection is still hanging around. It helps get rid of any lingering bacteria.
Dispose of Dressings Right When you're done with those used dressings, get rid of them promptly. Wash your hands after disposal and put them in a sealed plastic bag before tossing them in the household waste.
Impetigo and Newborns: A Special Caution
For all you parents with little ones, here's a crucial reminder: Impetigo can be extra risky for newborns. Their immune systems are still developing, making it harder for them to fight off the infection. So, make sure to keep anyone with Impetigo away from your baby, and don't hesitate to seek medical help if needed.
Natural School Sores Solutions
Understanding the nuances of Impetigo, from its symptoms and natural school sore solutions to preventive measures, is paramount in safeguarding your family's well-being. By adhering to these practical guidelines, you can not only effectively manage Impetigo but also proactively keeping your loved ones skin healthy.
SOURCES1. Dr. Kate Quirke, Senior House Officer at Rotorua Hospital, New Zealand, authored the article on Impetigo, with copy editing by Gus Mitchell in March 2022. The previous author was Honorary Associate Professor Amanda Oakley, a Dermatologist at Waikato Hospital, New Zealand. DermnetNZ. Available here.
2. Dr. Amy Stanway MB ChB, Registrar at the Department of Dermatology, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand in 2001, updated by Dr. Jannet Gomez, a Postgraduate Student in Clinical Dermatology at Queen Mary University London, United Kingdom, with Chief Editor Dr. Amanda Oakley, a Dermatologist based in Hamilton, New Zealand in December 2015, contributed to the article on Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. DermnetNZ.Available here.
3. Dr. Amy Stanway MB ChB, a Registrar at the Department of Dermatology, Waikato Hospital in Hamilton, New Zealand, authored the blog on Streptococcal skin infection. DermnetNZ. Available here.