Impetigo : Causes, symptoms and treatments

Impetigo is caused due to a bacterial infection on the skin. It appears as red sores on the surface of the skin, they may get filled with fluid, break open and form crusting. These can develop on any part of the body. Impetigo most commonly affects children and is also known as school sores. However, in some cases, it is also likely for adults to develop the condition. The sores usually appear in and around the mouth. However, constant scratching may also spread the sore to other areas of the body. It is a contagious skin condition and often spreads through the sharing of sheets, towels, and clothing.


Impetigo is caused due to two types of bacteria – streptococcus and staphylococcus. These bacteria often enter the skin when there is a puncture in the skin barrier such as burns, cuts, insect bites, poison ivy or other skin conditions such as eczema that reduce the skin’s defense making it easier for the bacteria to get through. They are also likely to occur after cold or allergies that leave the skin weak. However, it is also equally likely to develop in people with healthy skin.


The most common symptoms of impetigo include

  • Small red spots that eventually turn into blisters and break open. Although the sores are not painful, they do cause intense itchiness
  • The blisters may ooze out fluid and form a crust
  • The sores may rapidly proliferate thus covering a large area in a very short span of time. Theses sores can come in any size, as a small as a pimple or as large as a coin


Impetigo is in no way a life threatening condition. Upon correct treatment, they can clear off in just days. However, there are also certain complications that can arise out of the condition. These include

  • Scarring
  • Cellulitis
  • Kidney problems

Scarring can be intense, especially if the child is constantly picking at the sores. If the affected person contracts cellulitis, it could spread to the lymph nodes and the blood stream, which can become life threatening. In rare cases, impetigo also causes a condition known as post streptococcal glomerulonephritis, which can cause kidney failure.


Impetigo is not at all a threatening condition and clears away very easily on being treated. If the condition is still mild, regular cleansing of the sores, crust removal followed by the application of antibiotic ointments like mupirocin can effectively control and heal the condition in a very short span of time. Non-prescription antibiotics like Neosporin are usually not rendered effective. Oral antibiotic medications are taken only if the condition becomes severe and spreads to a wider area.

Since most of the staph germs have developed resistance to antibiotic over the years, not every antibiotic may be effective for everyone. The ones which have a higher chance of effectively treating the condition include penicillin derivatives such as amoxicillin – clavulanic acid and cephalosporins such as cephalexin. Examination of the bacteria taken from the affected area may help the doctors in giving more effective prescriptions.

Lichen planus : Causes, symptoms and treatments

Lichen planus is a chronic skin condition that appears as a rash. It occurs due to the inflammation of the skin and mucous membranes and is accompanied by small, flat topped, polygonal bumps. These bumps can grow in clusters and develop into rough, scaly plaques on the skin, thus causing serious skin conditions.

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Pruritus : Causes, symptoms and treatments

Pruritus is the medical term used for itchy skin. The itchiness can very intense and chronic. It could give rise to a strong urge to scratch, thus puncturing the skin. However, this should be avoided as the breaking of the skin’s natural barrier could lead to other secondary infections. The itchiness can occur in a small area like the nose or it can also occur in the entire body.

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Acne and Blackheads : Causes, symptoms and treatments

Acne is a skin condition resulting in the formation of red spots and pimples, especially on the face, neck, shoulders, back, chest and upper arms. Blackheads are a mild form of acne and are not painful to touch. These are usually caused due to the clogged hair follicles filled with oil and dirt. Acne appears as little red bumps whereas blackheads have a dark surface and may not be protruded like acne.

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Psoriasis : Causes, symptoms and treatments

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that results in the thickening and scaling of the skin. Although it is a non-contagious condition, the dried and flaky skin can rapidly proliferate in the affected person thus covering up a large portion of the skin. It generally affects the skin above and around the elbows, knees, and scalp. They can vary in intensity from mild scalding to thick plaques with red inflamed skin.

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Athlete’s foot : Causes, symptoms and treatments

Athlete’s foot is the name given to an Ikin disease which usually affects the skin lying in and around the sole of the foot. It shows up as red and scaly eruption which can also gradually develop into fluid-filled small blisters. Despite the name, it can affect both the athletes as well as the non-athletes.

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Rosacea : Causes, symptoms and treatments

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes redness and visible blood vessels in the face. If the condition gets severe, these red bumps on the skin can also swell up and get filled with pus. The symptoms can keep on flaring up and diminishing until they are treated. If the condition is mild, they may also be mistaken for other conditions such as acne or allergic reactions.

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Birthmarks : Causes, symptoms and treatments

Birthmarks are pigmented spots on the skin that are present at the time of birth or occur shortly after birth. The pigmentation can occur in a number of different colors like tan, dark brown, purple, red, black, pink, white, pale and blue. It is not necessary for everyone to compulsorily have a birthmark. These colored spots can be flat or sometimes be raised slightly above the skin surface. In some cases, the pigments also extend to the tissues under the skin.

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Scabies : Causes, symptoms and treatments

Scabies is itchy and contagious skin condition caused due to parasitic infestation. They are caused due to the itch mites known as Sarcoptes scabiei. These are very small eight legged parasites that can burrow into the skin so as to produce itching. The itchiness can intensify, especially during the night. The mites that infest the humans are females are 0.3 to 0.4 mm long and not easily noticeable to the naked eye. These mites can crawl, but are unable to fly or jump. They become immobile at temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius, although they can survive at such low temperatures for a relatively long period of time.


Since the mites can easily be transmitted through direct skin to skin contact, scabies is highly contagious. This is also the most common mode of transmission for the parasitic mites. Common risk factors for catching scabies include close physical contact with the infected person, shaking hands, sexual contact, sharing clothes or furniture and even hanging the clothes together with those belonging to an infected person.

Even brisk physical contacts like a mother hugging her baby are enough to spread the skin condition. Sexually active young people are most likely to get the condition through sexual contact. It is also not unlikely for people staying together to get affected by the parasites together.


The most common symptoms of scabies is itchiness which gets more intense during the night. This is often accompanied by a pimple-like rash. These rashes could develop anywhere in the body and more commonly in the wrists, armpits, elbows, between fingers and toes, around the nails and delicate areas of the skin that usually remain covered by clothing such as nipples, genitals, buttocks and belt line. Among the infants and young people, the rashes are more likely to develop over the face, forehead, head, neck, palms, and soles. If the person has a weak immune system, the rashes may form crusts.


Since scabies is very itchy, it can induce vigorous itching, thus resulting in the breaking of the skin barrier which could further lead to a secondary bacterial infection such as impetigo. Impetigo is caused due to the infestation of staphylococci and streptococci bacteria. If the condition gets more severe, it can lead to skin crusting. Crusting usually takes place in people with weak immune system or people who are staying in hospitals and nursing homes. If the crust spreads to a larger area, they can be difficult to treat.


So far, there are no over the counter products for scabies. Any medications that are to be used have to be first prescribed by a doctor. Immediate treatment options include topical creams which are directly applied to the affected area. Elimite is a commonly used cream which is applied, kept overnight and washed off the following morning or anytime within 14 hours. This is again followed by a second application which is done after 1 or 2 weeks. Other popular medications include crotamiton cream and lotion, lindane, sulfur ointment and benzyl benzoate. Lindane also poses a risk of seizures and is generally not regarded as a first line treatment.