Learn about the causes of Impetigo & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Impetigo within New Zealand.
Impetigo is a contagious bacterial skin infection that can be bullous or non-bullous in nature. Impetigo commonly affects children of between two and four years but can also affect adults living in a confined environment. Bullous impetigo is characterised by itchy blisters on the arms or legs. Non-bullous impetigo begins with red sores around the mouth or nose that burst leaving a yellowy crust and then a red mark. Both types of impetigo can also cause swollen glands and fever.
Impetigo is a highly infectious bacterial condition caused by the staphylococcus aureus and occasionally the staphylococcus pyogenes bacteria. Infections can be either primary whereby bacteria attacks the skin via a cut, bite or injury or secondary whereby the impetigo bacteria invades skin which has been previously been affected by another infection such as eczema or scabies.
Once infected, a person can easily pass the bacteria to others through physical contact or the sharing of towels or flannels. Impetigo is most common in children who have yet to develop a strong immune system.
The symptoms of impetigo do not appear until 4-10 days from exposure and so the condition can be easily passed from person to person without any sign that an infection is present. Impetigo is either non-bullous or bullous in nature and the symptoms vary slightly in both.
Non-bullous impetigo – Symptoms begin with red sores around the nose and mouth which then burst creating a yellow-brown crust. The sores are not painful but can itch. Scratching the sores can lead to the infection spreading to other parts of the body. Other symptoms of non-bullous impetigo may include fever and swollen glands although this is rare.
Bullous impetigo – Bullous impetigo begins with honey coloured blisters on the torso, arms and legs. These fluid-filled blisters burst after a few days causing a yellow-brown crust which then heals. The blisters can be itchy and scratching them can cause the infection to spread to other areas of the body. Unlike non-bullous impetigo, fever and swollen glands is more common with this form of the condition.
A visit to the GP will help to diagnose impetigo. Your GP will examine the affected skin and if the condition is severe or persistent will take a sample for further laboratory tests to rule out other skin conditions such as ringworm or shingles.