Impetigo is a common skin infection, usually occurring as red sores on the face, neck, hands and feet of young children and infants.
Due to its very contagious nature, make sure that your child stays home when suffering from this infection to avoid infecting anyone else. Also, washing you and your child’s hands and face thoroughly, especially after touching an infected sore, will help prevent spreading the infection.
- Causes of Impetigo
- Symptoms of Impetigo
- Preventing Impetigo
- Home Treatment for Impetigo
- Method 1: Use Tea Tree Oil
- Method 2: Use Grapefruit Seed Extract
- Method 3: Use Heat Therapy
- Method 4: Use Manuka Honey
Causes of Impetigo
- Impetigo is caused by two types of bacteria: Streptococcus pyogenes (strep) and Staphylococcus aureus (staph).
- It usually starts when the bacteria get into a sore in the skin, such as a cut, scratch, open wound, poison ivy rash or an insect bite.
- Most common in children, certain risk factors can make adults more susceptible to it. Risk factors include poor hygiene as well as several health conditions like diabetes or a weakened immune system.
- Impetigo is highly contagious and can spread by direct or indirect contact with infected sores, hand contact after touching an infected sore, or even nasal discharge from an infected person. Touching the infected sores can also spread the infection to other areas of a person’s body. Also, sharing items like towels or cell phones that have had contact with the infectious bacteria can spread it to others.
Symptoms of Impetigo
- Red sores on the face, neck, hands and feet.
- Sores developing into blisters, filling up with pus and breaking open after a few days, and forming a brown crust around the area.
- Swelling around the infected area.
- Itching around the area.
- Pain around the infected area.
If already suffering from Impetigo, avoid touching the infected area, so it does not spread to other areas of the body or other people. Also, avoid using towels or other items with a person who has this infection.
To avoid catching the infection in the first place, follow these simple and healthy habits:
- Maintain hygiene by taking a bath or shower regularly and use a soap to keep your skin clean.
- Take care of scraped, broken or irritated skin. Try to keep those areas clean and avoid scratching it further.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap.
- Keep your nails trimmed and clean.
Home Treatment for Impetigo
Treatment for impetigo entirely depends on the seriousness of the infection. While a mild impetigo infection can easily be treated using home remedies and good hygiene, a severe case may need medical care from a doctor.
Here are four remedies that can help get rid of mild impetigo and stop it from recurring. Use one or a combination of the remedies to ensure that the infection is successfully treated.
Method 1: Use Tea Tree Oil
Used for various skin infections, tea tree oil can help treat impetigo. The antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties of the oil kill the bacteria budding in the sores.
Not only does it help heal the infection, it helps prevent it from spreading to the other areas of your body as well.
A 2009 study published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents observed that tea tree oil effectively kills the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, both in their stationary growth phase and also within bio-films and is therefore a promising tool for complete removal of the bacteria from the skin.
Things you’ll need:
- Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
- Tea tree oil – 5 or 6 drops
Step 1. Add tea tree oil to olive oil
- Mix 5 or 6 drops of tea tree oil into 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Step 2. Apply to the affected area for 20 to 30 minutes
- Apply the solution to the affected area using a cotton swab. Use a fresh cotton swab for applying it to each sore.
- Allow it to sit on the skin for 20 to 30 minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Do this 2 or 3 times a day to see positive results in 4 to 5 days.
Method 2: Use Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is a natural antibiotic that can help heal impetigo. It is rich in antioxidants that quickly permeate the sores, while its antibacterial properties fight the bacteria.
Step 1. Add grapefruit seed extract to warm water
- Mix 5 or 6 drops of grapefruit seed extract into 2 tablespoons of warm water.
Step 2. Apply the solution to the infected areas
- Apply the solution to the infected areas using a cotton swab. Use a fresh cotton swab for different areas.
- Leave it to dry completely.
- Do this 2 or 3 times daily and the infection should clear up within a week.
Method 3: Use Heat Therapy
Bacteria die in hot temperatures. Heat therapy kills Staphylococcal bacteria responsible for impetigo and prevents it from recurring.
The heat will also help dry up the sores, healing the blisters on the skin.
Things you’ll need:
- Cotton cloth
Step 1. Heat up a cotton cloth using a blow-dryer
- Use a blow-dryer to heat up a cotton cloth.
Step 2. Use the hot cotton cloth as a hot compress
- Compress the hot cotton cloth on the infected area for 3 to 5 minutes Re-heat the cloth if needed.
- Do this several times a day and the infection should be gone in 5 or 6 days.
- Alternatively, you can also soak a clean cotton cloth in warm water and apply it to the affected area.
Method 4: Use Manuka Honey
Although all honey generally has antibacterial and antiseptic properties and are good for treating skin infections, manuka honey is exceptionally good for treating impetigo. It inhibits the bacteria from growing in the skin and prevents the infection from spreading.
Furthermore, it speeds up the healing process.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply manuka honey to the infected area
- Use a cotton swab to apply a little manuka honey on and around the infected area and leave it on for 1 to 2 hours. Use a fresh cotton swab for applying it to different areas.
- Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Do this 2 or 3 times every day to get rid of the red sores within a week.
- Eating manuka honey is also good for your immune system. Consume 1 teaspoon daily to strengthen your immune system to fight against infections and diseases.
- Making changes to your diet will help strengthen your immune system and, in turn, fight the infection. Eat a healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruits to boost your immunity and promote faster healing.
- If the symptoms persist for a long time, consult your doctor for further treatment.
Summary of How to Get Rid of Impetigo
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