7 questions answered about an impetigo rash in babies
Are you able to identify an impetigo rash?
You should, you know.
Impetigo in babies is a very common skin condition with roughly 9-10% of all children suffering of skin problems being diagnosed with impetigo.
Impetigo commonly known as infantigo or school sores because impetigo causes red sores in a child's face.
This bacterial skin infection is usually very treatable but can pose a huge risk for newborns.
They are at an increased risk becaus the infant's immune system is not well developed yet, making it hard to fight of this bacterial infection.
What parents need to know about an impetigo rash
1. What causes an Impetigo rash?
Bacteria causing impetigo are Staphylococcus Aureus, Staphylococcus Pyogenes and Streptococcus. They usually find their way into the skin through a wound or as a secondary infection to the already damaged skin of baby eczema.
Sometimes parents are nasal carriers of bacteria like Staphulococcus without knowing this. They can transmit the bacteria to their baby if they don’t wash their hands properly. If children scratch the impetigo lesions they may spread to other parts of their body and they also become highly contagious for other children.
2. What is the difference between bullous and non-bullous impetigo?
- Bullous impetigo. This impetigo rash affects mostly infants and toddler under 2 years of age. Bullous impetigo produces large fluid filled blisters on the body,arms and legs. In young babies the impetigo appears often in deep skin folds and the diaper area.
- Non Bullous impetigo starts with small blisters that soon crust over leaving this characteristic honey colored crusts. These crusts we see mostly on the face, around nose and mouth but can also appear on the body. About 70% of the cases of impetigo is non bullous and affects mostly children under age 10.
3. How can I protect my baby against Impetigo?
Difficult but not immpossible, because babies put everything in their mouth where they can get hold of.
- The most important thing for parents to do, is always wash their hands before handling their baby.
- Do not let your baby share towels, wash cloths or bed linen with other children.
- To some this may sound weird, but do not share the bathwater with brothers or sisters, bacteria can be transmitted by bathwater.
- Last do not let anyone with impetigo near your baby until they are completely treated. Believe m, impetigo is very contagious.
4. How does a doctor diagnose impetigo?
The appearance of an impetigo rash with its yellow colored crusts makes it easy for a doctor to diagnose Impetigo. See impetigo pictures.
He may like to know what sort of bacteria are causing the infection. Then they usually send a swab to the laboratory to decide on the appropriate treatment.
5. How to treat impetigo in babies?
The recommended treatment for an impetigo infection is antibiotic cream or lotion. They often use a cream named Fucidin.
Before you apply any topical antibiotic wash the affected area with antiseptic soap. If possible remove the impetigo crusts and pat it carefully dry with a clean towel or let it air dry.
Then cover the impetigo with a clean waterproof dressing. You may need a crepe bandage to keep it in place. This will also prevent spreading of the infection. Don’t forget to wash your hands afterwards.
If your child has impetigo do not let him scratch the infected area and keep his fingernails short. If there are many lesions of impetigo a your doctor may give a course of oral antibiotics to treat the impetigo. Any treatment with antibiotics should be finished as prescribed by your doctor. Stop to soon and the impetigo may come back.
6. When does the impetigo rash stop being contagious?
As long as there is drainage from the infected area the rash is very contagious. A child stops being contagious 24 to 48 hours after he starts treatment with oral antibiotics. With topical treatment it may take a week.
7. When should you call a doctor?
Call your doctor's office when your baby apart from the impetigo has:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Swollen lymph glands
More at risk are babies with diabetes, poor hygiene, eczema or a weakened immune system. Severe impetigo infections in babies that are left untreated can lead to sepsemia or to a kidney infection.