When a baby develops a rash-like appearance on their face, especially around the edge of their nose and mouth, it could be a case of impetigo.
Impetigo is a contagious skin infection caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria. The infection causes fluid-filled blisters that breaks open quickly and weep, which eventually turn into crusts that are either yellow or honey colored.
Common impetigo, which is the non-bullous type, usually does not cause any pain symptoms, will not result in any scarring, and heals much faster. Bullous impetigo, on the other hand, which is a rare type, takes time to heal.
Impetigo in Babies
In the case of babies getting affected by impetigo, the process usually happens by picking up the infection from their caregivers, or from handling toys that have been priorly used by an infected child. Also, skin bruises, cuts, or other skin abnormalities like eczema could lead to the bacterial entry into their body and trigger this contagious skin infection.
A baby suffering from impetigo usually will have –
– Slightly elevated body temperatures
– Swollen lymph glands, especially those situated around the baby’s neck and face
Treating Impetigo in Babies
Impetigo can be effectively cured with a course of antibiotics, either topically or orally, depending on how severe the condition is. Babies tend to fling their arms and play with their hands a lot, during which it is possible to rub off the cream, or get it into their mouth, which could lead to complications. Hence, covering their tiny hands in mittens is recommended.
The other option will be to treat their condition with oral antibiotics, given at a much lower dose. Oral antibiotics will have to be given for a 7-day period, and the entire course will have to be completed even if the infection clears up earlier than expected.
Home Remedies for Impetigo in Babies
During the course of antibiotic treatment, there are certain things that could be done at home to help in clearing up the infection quickly, and to prevent its spread.
– Before applying topical creams, it is important to wash the infected skin area with soap and water, and gently attempt to remove the dried up scabs to allow the antiseptic cream penetrate the skin better.
– The area should also be pat dried using paper towels before applying topical creams, with the towel disposed off appropriately.
– After adequately applying the cream, the area should be covered with a sterile dressing material. In case the baby’s trunk and limbs are involved in this infectious process, then it is recommended that the baby be dressed in loose-fitting clothes.
– The caregiver’s hands should be washed thoroughly before and after each time the cream is applied. Or, gloves may be worn during application. Also, while other members of the family handle the baby, their hands should be cleansed before and after carrying the child.
– Trimming the baby’s nails is also recommended, or bacteria could get trapped in there, from where the infection-causing bacteria could spread to other body areas.
– All personal care items of the baby, daily clothes, towels, flannels, and toys should be stored separately, and washed on a daily basis.
In case the condition persists even after adequate treatment methods have been followed, the family physician should be contacted.