Impetigo Treatment in Palm Harbor, FL
The skin protects us from the outside world, but it, too, needs to be protected. Overexposure to the sun's rays, for instance, increases your chance of developing skin cancer as well as your skin aging prematurely. As your body's largest organ, furthermore, the skin is vulnerable to infections if injured and punctured, when steps to disinfect the area are not taken.
When the skin is exposed to Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria or Streptococcal pyogenes (strep) bacteria, an infection known as impetigo may follow. This type of skin infection causes red or pimple-like sores to form on the face, arms and legs after bacteria invade through a break in the skin (such as a cut, scratch or insect bite). These sores fill with pus, and then break open after a few days to form a thick, itchy crust which spreads when scratched. There are two types of impetigo:
- Bullous Impetigo, which causes large (though painless) fluid-filled blisters.
- Non-Bullous Impetigo: in this form of impetigo, contagious sores burst and leave behind yellow-brown crust.
Though both forms of impetigo may be contagious (and spreads from skin-to-skin contact), non-bullous impetigo is the more severe, and more contagious, condition. Most commonly affecting infants and children (with children between the ages of 2 and 5 most at risk), impetigo in adults does sometimes occur.
It's important to meet a healthcare provider if you or your child experiences the symptoms of impetigo to ensure treatment is taken and the underlying cause is addressed; in some cases, untreated, worsened cases of impetigo could cause a serious health condition, even possibly leading to a permanent loss in skin pigmentation. To schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Palm Harbor that specializes in impetigo treatment, call (813) 536-3212 or contact Erin Bolton online.
Your healthcare provider can help determine whether you or your child have impetigo, distinguishing between other infections such as tinea (ringworm) and scabies (mites), through a physical examination. He or she will inspect blisters or sores and ask about any recent injuries that may indicate bacteria has entered through the skin, creating an infection. In certain instances—particularly in previous unsuccessful attempts at treatment—your healthcare provider may take a culture to distinguish which type of bacterium is causing impetigo. This will help to recommend appropriate treatment that the bacteria is not resistant to.
Even though mild cases of impetigo can be handled with gentle cleansing and removing crusts, applying a prescription-strength antibiotic ointment (mupirocin) will be needed to soothe the skin and cause the infection to dissipate. If the extent of your impetigo blistering is severe, your healthcare provider may recommend taking an oral antibiotic.
It is important to completely finish the course of the antibiotic prescribed to ensure the treatment's efficacy and to prevent impetigo recurrence. During the process of treatment, it is likely that your healthcare provider will recommend covering the infected areas to help prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the body. This may be done by covering the area(s) with gauze and tape or a loose plastic bandage.
While most of the time, impetigo is fairly unthreatening to your overall health and goes away (returning your skin back to normal) upon treatment, it is important to consult the advice of a qualified healthcare provider, as untreated impetigo can lead to more serious health concerns, including:
- Cellulitis: A potentially serious infection which infects the tissues underneath your skin and which may eventually spread to your lymph nodes and blood stream; cellulitis can quickly become life-threatening if left untreated.
- Ecthyma: Left untreated, impetigo can lead to ecthyma, a serious skin infection causing deep ulcers which may lead to scarring.
In the gravest of impetigo complications, post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, a severe kidney disease occurs following strep infection, though this is very rare (occurring, mainly in children, in less than 1% of cases).
If you experience any impetigo symptoms, seek treatment to ensure a more serious health consequence doesn't follow. Schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Palm Harbor that specializes in impetigo treatment. Call (813) 536-3212 or contact Erin Bolton online.
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