What is Infantigo?
It is a kind of bacterial infection affecting the skin, majorly of the face. It happens to people of all age groups but is more common in people of young age. The bacterium involved is generally staphylococcus. In some cases though, it is streptococcus. It is highly contagious. Preschool children are the most susceptible to it. They are of different types.
It is also known as infintigo, infatigo, and infentigo.
How Infantigo affects the body?
Infantigo causes red sores to be present on one’s body, i.e., especially on the face (near the nose and mouth). Also, it is contagious. It can easily be transmitted from one person to another.
Sometimes, complications arise in Infantigo. However, it is rare that this would happen. Some of the expected complications are:
- Cellulitis: It is a painful condition that occurs when the bacterial infection grows uncontrollably.
- Scarlet fever: The cause of this is Streptococcus bacterium.
- Septicemia: When the bacteria grow uncontrollably, the infection spreads in the blood. This is such a condition.
- Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis: It is a disorder that follows infantigo. This is a condition affecting the blood vessels in kidneys.
The following are the types of infatigo that are relatively common:
- Non-bullous infantigo
It is the most prevalent type of infantigo. It’s also known as contagious infantigo. It starts with a red sore and ends without leaving a scar. The sore is generally near the mouth or the neck. In the process, the sore breaks and certain fluid is discharged. The sores though not painful, but are irritating and cause discomfort.
One must not touch or scratch the affected part, lest it should spread. Lymph nodes of that area may be swollen. They take a fortnight to heal, generally.
- Bullous infantigo
In this type of infatigo, the skin doesn’t turn sore. It is common in children aged above two (2) years. They leave behind yellow scabs. The sores contain yellowish fluid. Crust formation is absent. Exotoxin that is known as Epidermolytic toxin is released by the bacterium causing bullae formation.
Liquid filled sores are present and skin is reddened in this type of infatigo. Also, they might turn into ulcers. In certain cases, the infatigo might be involved with the swollen lymph nodes of that area. They leave behind scars. It is least common and most severe kind of infantigo.
There is a bacterium known as Staphylococcus aureus which is the main causative agent. It is responsive for almost 70% of the cases. Other than this species of Staphylococcus, other species of Staphylococcus and Streptococcus may also cause this disorder.
Commensals, i.e., bacteria living in and on our bodies without causing any potential harm to us, are always there. But the problem arises only with overgrowth. When these overgrow, their probability to enter the body increases.
They easily get in through the cuts, rashes, scrapes or an insect bite. Sore accumulation caused by the entrance of Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacteria into the body through wounds.
Infantigo is a kind of extreme infection, caused by the bacteria, that starts with the development of sores that burst and form crusts.
The following are the signs and symptoms of the disorder:
- Generally affected areas are the nose and mouth, but it may spread to other body parts (hands, arms, and legs).
- It affects the fingernails, if severe. Also, the deeper layers of skin are affected.
- Rashes, sores, patchy skin and blisters (individually or in combination) are common signs of this disorder.
- The appearance of sores in facial parts is the first sign of the appearance of this disease.
- Sores turn red and develop into blisters.
- The blisters, however, fall off and heal on their own, without leaving any scars in most cases.
- There is a variation in the number and size of the sores.
- The sores are itchy in nature.
The laboratory tests are generally not needed. In fact, infantigo can be recognized by simple clinical observation. The appearance of distinctive sores can indicate the existence of the causative bacteria in large numbers.
In extreme or severe cases, it is done through the laboratory method. Sample from the lesion may be taken and sent to the lab.
One can recognize the lesions from the appearance, only when one has a prior knowledge of medical science about it.
General care of the patient and systematic administration of antibiotics are the methods of treating this disease.
Generally, the disorder does not require any specific treatment. But certain things help to speed up the process of recovery back to normal. Since it is an infectious disease, the administration of antibiotics may slow down the process. The same can be done in the following two ways:
- Topical antibiotic ointment
It is more effective and shows lesser side effects. This method is adopted to overcome antibiotic resistance. The common topical antibiotics are: fusidic acid, mupirocin, etc.
- Oral antibiotic treatment
This includes the oral administration of antibiotics.
Some household treatments include:
- Use of grapefruit seed extract
- Use of white vinegar
- Use of tea tree oil
- Use of Aloe Vera
- Use of garlic
This disease generally subsides on its own. However, even in severe cases, the administration of antibiotics can speed up the healing process. With continuous treatment of antibiotics as well as avoidance of contaminated contact, one can heal completely in a few weeks’ time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In what age group is infantigo most common?
It is more common in children than in adults and middle-aged people.
Does this disorder always leave a scar?
In most cases, the scar disappears and clear skin reappears. However, in some kinds of infantigo, a little scar remains.
Is infantigo contagious or communicable?
Yes. It is highly contagious. It easily spreads from person to person.
What is the prevention for this disorder?
Infantigo is a communicable disease. Hence, the prevention is only possible by maintaining a hygienic distance from the infected person.
Are the sores painful?
No. They are not actually painful. But the sores cause discomfort and are itchy in nature. Continuous itching can lead to severe discomfort, if not pain.
Though not leading to serious consequences generally, it is expedient in the interest of hygiene that it must be guarded against. Prevention, too, is possible only up to a certain extent.
It can be prevented by maintaining a safe distance from the infected children/adults.
One must not share the food, stuff, and utensils with the infected person. Also, if already infected, one must avoid the touching of lesions with hands. Scraping also causes the speedy transmission of bacteria.