Children with impetigo usually develop honey colored crusted lesions, usually beginning in areas where the skin has been broken, irritated or damaged. The nostrils, especially in kids with a runny nose, are commonly affected. Untreated infections can quickly spread to other areas on the child's body.
Bullous impetigo cause much larger skin lesions that look like blisters that quickly rupture and commonly affects a child's trunk or buttocks.
What causes impetigo?
Common bacteria, some of which are found normally on the skin, cause impetigo. When the bacteria enter an open area in the skin, the infection can occur. The most common bacteria that cause impetigo include the following:
- group A ß - hemolytic streptococcus
- Staphylococcus aureus
Diagnosis of Impetigo
Although bacterial cultures can be done, diagnosis is usually based on the typical appearance of the rash.
Bacterial cultures are helpful if your Pediatrician suspects that your child's impetigo is being caused by a resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, methicillin resistant staph aureus, or if he simply has a rash that isn't going away.
What are the symptoms of impetigo?
Impetigo usually occurs on the face, neck, arms, and limbs, but the lesions may appear on any part of the body. Impetigo starts as a small vesicle or fluid-filled lesion. The lesion then ruptures and the fluid drains leaving areas that are covered with the honey-colored crusts. The lesions may all look different, with different sizes and shapes. Your child may also have swollen lymph nodes (small lumps that are located mostly in the neck, arm, under the arm and in the groin area). The lymph nodes become enlarged when your child's body is fighting an infection.
The symptoms of impetigo may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.
How is impetigo diagnosed?
Impetigo is usually diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination of your child. The lesions of impetigo are unique and usually allow for a diagnosis based simply on physical examination. In addition, your child's physician may order a culture of your child's lesion to confirm the diagnosis and the type of bacteria that is present.
Treatment for impetigo
For small areas of infection, an over-the-counter or prescription strength topical antibiotic may be all that is needed, in addition to washing the area with warm soapy water. For more extensive or persistent infections, an oral or intravenous antibiotic might be needed.
Specific treatment for impetigo will be determined by your child's physician based on:
- your child's age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the condition
- your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the condition
- your opinion or preference
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