Signs and Symptoms
- Patch of itchy, red blisters on the face, arms, or legs
- When blisters break they become oozing sores that eventually scab
Impetigo is a skin infection caused by either the stapphococci or streptococci bacterium. The condition occurs when bacteria enter a wound-such as a scratch, cut, abrasion, or insect bite and cause a rash of red blisters that ooze a highly contagious fluid. Any physical contact with this fluid, including scratching or even touching, can spread blisters to other parts of the body or transmit the infection to other people. Two or three days after developing, the blisters scab, developing yellow or brown crusts. These sores heal slowly-taking up to five weeks to fully heal.
While impetigo can strike anyone, it is most prevalent among children. It is also common among people who have poor hygiene, are malnourished, or live in unhygienic conditions.
Conventional Medical Treatment
Most cases of impetigo do not require a visit to the doctor and clear up within a few days. To prevent the condition from spreading, everyone in the household, including the infected person, should practice good hygiene, including frequent hand washings.
If the infection lasts for more than a few days or infects a very young child, visit a physician or dermatologist, who can diagnose impetigo with a tissue sample biopsy Conventional treatment includes topical antibiotic creams or oral antibiotic therapy.
Complementary and Alternative Treatments
Nutrition and Supplementation
Nutritionists recommend the following daily supplements:
- vitamin A (10,000 IU for 5 days, then stop for 2 days; do not exceed 8000 IU daily if you are pregnant)-adult dose; reduce for child
- vitamin D (400 IU)-for 5 days then stop for 2 days-adult dose; reduce for child
- vitamin E (100 to 400 IU)
- vitamin C (500 mg twice daily)
- zinc (30 mg)
- selenium (200 mcg)
For this infectious disease, apply a compress using 2 drops each of myrrh, German chamomile, and tea tree oil. Apply to the infected areas often.
Marigold, with its antibacterial properties, can help fight infection and aid healing. Mix 5 drops marigold tincture in 1 cup cooled, boiled water and apply directly to the infected skin. Repeat several times a day, as long as necessary.
Herbal products are available in health food stores and in some pharmacies and supermarkets. Follow package for specific directions.
Impetigo may respond to homeopathic treatment. However, the selection of a remedy-more than one is available-depends on your symptoms and the stage of the condition. Don’t try treating this disorder yourself. See a homeopathic professional.
Bathe red, blistered areas with a solution of Hypericum and Calendua. Add 5 drops of each tincture to 1 cup of cooled boiled water; use several times a day. These remedies can be purchased at health food stores.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture While acupuncture can not cure impetigo, it can be used to help make the patient more comfortable by lessening the pain associated with impetigo blisters. Many times it can help correct an balance, especially when used in combination with diet modification and herbs.
Chinese Herbal Therapy Although antibiotics are almost always recommended in the treatment of a highly contagious bacterial infection, such as impetigo, herbs can be helpful in alleviating symptoms until the condition is cured.
The Chinese herbal formula known as Lien Chiao Pai Tu Pien may be used to help stave off
secondary infections and heal skin ulcers.