Bacterial skin infections are rather common, for the human skin acts as a host to innumerable microorganism colonies. Any kind of skin injury, poor hygiene, and lower immune levels can trigger various kinds of skin problems marked by inflammation and pus-filled blisters.
Impetigo is an abnormal superficial skin condition that is easily communicable by direct skin contact and caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria. Young infants and children are commonly infected by this condition, though it is not uncommon among young adults and older people too. In fact, people with a compromised immune system are more prone to developing this infectious skin problem rather easily. According to doctors, the cases of impetigo seem to rise during the summer months, especially in those living in crowded conditions.
There are two varieties of impetigo, namely – a) bullous and, b) non-bullous type. The non-bullous type is the more common variety, which generally starts off as a single red conical skin elevation that quickly transforms into a fluid-filled cyst. The blister eventually breaks up and ooze out pus contents. This tends to spread the infection through the process called ‘autoinoculation’. Autoinoculation is distributing the microorganism from one body surface to another by contact with the contaminated skin surface and then touching other skin areas.
Impetigo Treatment with Antibiotics
The first step taken towards treating impetigo is to kill the bacteria causing the infection. Also, improving the appearance of the scabs and preventing any scarring or its recurrence will be the goal of treatment. Antibiotics are usually prescribed to check bacterial growth and kill it.
Topical Antibiotics: The use of antiseptic creams or ointments is considered very effective in treating impetigo, bringing about only minimal side effects. These need to be applied over the infected skin areas only.
Topical antibiotics prescribed for treating impetigo are –
– Mupirocin – This is usually an ointment base that is considered to be more effective when used to treat small skin areas affected by impetigo. An application on the affected areas twice or three times in a day is generally recommended for relief.
– Retapamulin – Again an ointment that can be safely used in children above one year of age as well, but its application is to be avoided over mucosal areas. The ointment is to be used twice in a day for five consecutive days to inhibit bacterial growth and the spread of infection.
Before using topical antibiotics, the skin area should be thoroughly cleansed and dried. Also, it is important to wash hands immediately after each application.
Oral Antibiotics: Antibiotic pills are normally prescribed only when the impetigo condition is serious and more widespread. A five or seven-day course of antibiotics is usually written out, which should be completed even if symptoms diminish earlier.
The problem with oral antibiotics is that it causes stomach discomforts, diarrhea, and nausea/vomiting. Also, it is possible for the good bacteria to get destroyed as well with the intake of oral antibiotics.
People with an even more severe case of impetigo infection are often treated with oral antibiotics in combination with topical antibiotic applicants to improve the cure rate.
Until the condition is brought under good control, it is advised that the patient avoid skin contact with other people as far as possible. Actually, if it is possible, remaining at home until the abnormality normalizes will be of great help to others. Avoidance of sharing personal care items is also recommended.