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I have several children in the school where I teach showing signs of rashes. I had one parent confirm with her doctor that it was determined to be impetago, now I need to let the other families within the class be aware they have been exposed. What is a good course of measure for treatment and prevention once exposed to the bacteria? What at typical signs and a-typical signs of impetago?

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Hello! Impetigo commonly occurs around the nose and mouth, hands, and forearms but it can affect skin anywhere on the body.
There are two forms of impetigo, one is caused by streptococcus bacteria and is characterized by tiny blisters that burst and leave red patches of skin that weep fluid. Soon after, a yellowish-brown crusts cover the infected area and it looks like brown sugar. Another form of impetigo is caused by staphylococcus aureus and it appears as larger fluid filled blisters that don’t burst. This one is called Bullous impetigo.
Impetigo is highly contagious and spread by contact especially if a child has a cut or a scrape that lets bacteria move from skin and cause an infection.

Without treatment, impetigo sores can become infected and the bacteria could move to the kidneys, or bones, joints, and lungs. If it makes to the bloodstream, the bacteria can cause a serious infection called sepsis.

If small parts of body are infected, then topical antibiotics are used. However, if topical antibiotics don’t prove to be effective, a doctor will prescribe oral tablets then. A medicine needs to be taken according to the doctor’s orders, so that the bacteria wouldn’t develop a blood infection. Tell the parents that if their children develop impetigo not to try to treat them themselves but seek professional help.

During the break out, infected skin should be gently washed with clean gauze and an antiseptic everyday. The crusts should be gently removed before applying ointment. In order to prevent spreading the disease, infected skin parts should be covered with gauze and taped.
Considering that the rash is spread by scratching and touching, it would be good if the children’s nails were short and clean.
To prevent spreading impetigo, children should wash their hands regularly and their skin should be washed with antibacterial soap and water.
Every child or family member should have their own towels, bed linens and cloths even though they don’t have such an important role in spreading impetigo.
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