What Is Impetigo? A Comprehensive Guide to the Contagious Skin Condition
Traditional Treatments and Alternative Therapies for Impetigo
Although impetigo usually can resolve itself in two, three, or four weeks, treatment with topical or oral antibiotics will help speed the healing process, as well as prevent you or your child from spreading the infection to others.
Less-severe cases often respond quickly to a topical ointment or cream, while children or adults with widespread or advanced sores may need an oral antibiotic as well. (7)
The symptoms of impetigo typically begin clearing up in a few days after starting antibiotic treatment. (5) Keep in mind that you’re still contagious for up to 24 to 48 hours after starting treatment, though. (2,7)
This doesn’t mean that you can stop taking medication after two days. You’ll need to complete the full course of antibiotics, even if your sores or blisters improve in appearance.
More on Antibiotics, Which Can Help Treat Impetigo
Stopping medication too soon can trigger a recurrent infection and increase the risk of antibiotic resistance. (10) In severe cases, some people need antibiotic injections to help clear the infection. (7)
Along with prescription medication to get rid of the infection, practice good skin care at home to speed the healing process. Soak your skin in warm, soapy water to remove dirt and crusts daily. And keep your skin covered with a bandage until you’re no longer contagious. (7) Using a new towel each time you shower, in addition to avoiding sharing towels, will help minimize the spread of infection.
Unfortunately, impetigo recurs in some people. If this happens in your case, talk to your doctor about adding a small amount of bleach to bath water. If done correctly, this can safely reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin, thus lowering the risk of a new infection.
Video: Infestations and infectious diseases of the skin
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