While your little munchkin might be discomforted by the sores on her body, they will clear up in under two weeks in most cases. Impetigo is generally not considered a serious condition. However, as with any bacterial infection, it is recommended that you take your kids to a GP to thoroughly evaluate the infection, since negative long-term consequences are not unheard of.
CAUSES OF IMPETIGO
One of two bacterial infections can cause impetigo: Streptococcus or Staphylococcus aureus (strep and staph for short). Staph is usually the culprit, but it is possible for both to be the cause. There are two ways impetigo infections can start:
- Primary impetigo is when the bacteria infects skin without a point of entry.
- Secondary impetigo occurs when bacteria enters the affected area via broken skin.
Impetigo is so wide-spread because the bacteria that cause it spread via touch and stick to surfaces. Children often spread impetigo from one part of their body to another part in this way. Frequent touch during play activities is often how impetigo spreads between children. It can also spread if bacteria sticks to items used by kids like towels, clothing, sippy cups, toys, etc.
WHEN AND HOW TO TREAT IT
Since most cases resolve by themselves, it isn’t always necessary to treat impetigo. However, it is vital that a doctor make the call whether to treat or not, since serious or persistent infection can lead to scarring, cellulitis and even kidney damage. In serious or especially painful cases, doctors can prescribe an antibiotic ointment or cream.
Oral antibiotics are also available but are usually reserved for very serious cases. After three days most of the symptoms and sores should have cleared up, although some can persist up to a week after treatment. Be sure to separate clothing and items used by the affected child from other household items and wash them separately. It’s also a good idea to cover impetigo sores with bandages to prevent your child scratching them.