What are the signs and symptoms of Impetigo?

Impetigo starts out as a small cluster of blisters that after a few hours breaks into a red, moist area that oozes or weeps fluid. It also can become yellow and crusty.  Classic signs and symptoms of impetigo usually occur around the nose and mouth but can be spread to other areas of the body by fingers, clothing and towels. Itching and soreness are generally mild. Children tend to get them on their face. Sometimes they show up on their arms or legs. The infection may continue to spread at the edges of the infected area or affect other areas of skin that can lead to scarring.

In serious cases, the infection invades a deeper layer of skin and turns into a form of impetigo called ecthyma. When that happens, pus-filled bumps occur with a crust that’s much darker and thicker than ordinary impetigo.  Ecthyma can be very itchy. If an irritated area is scratched, it can cause the infection to spread quickly. If you don’t get it treated, the sores may cause permanent scars and hyperpigmentation. 

What are the causes of Impetigo?

The most common cause of impetigo is bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. Another bacteria source is group A streptococcus.  These bacteria lurk everywhere. The most common way to get impetigo is when in contact with someone who has the infection, such as playing contact sports like wrestling. It’s especially easy to pick it up if there is an open wound or a fresh scratch.  You can also catch impetigo if you share the same clothes, bedding, towels, or other objects with someone with the infection. In men and some women, shaven or waxed areas are more prone to contract the bacteria in which folliculitis plays a part in contracting these bacteria.  It has an appearance similar to white heads and can harbor a form of Staph infection that affects the Pilosebaceous unit It is more likely to contract impetigo if other skin problems exist, such as eczema, body lice, insect bites, or fungal infections.

How do you treat Impetigo?

The key to treating impetigo is to practice good personal hygiene and maintain a clean environment. Once the infection occurs, prompt attention will keep it under control and prevent it from spreading. Seeking medical attention immediately will ensure less spreading of the disease and scarring of the skin. You may need a prescription medication. Topical ointments are available by prescription only and is highly successful in treating mild forms of the infection. Over-the-counter antibacterial ointments are too weak to kill strep and staph infections and applying the ointment may actually spread the impetigo. If you have a more severe infection, you may need to take oral antibiotics.

What to do in the treatment room?

If a client comes in for a facial or hair removal service, it is imperative that you do not perform the treatment.  The spreading of bacteria can be detrimental to the client and the service provider.  Take all sanitary precautions once your area has been exposed to the bacteria.  Impetigo can spread very quickly and cause other health issues to everyone that could come in contact with any of the bacteria.  If you believe your client may have impetigo, please refer immediately to a physician.  Also remind your clients how to take care of themselves and prevent the continual spreading of the bacteria.


Reference Links: