Impetigo and urticaria are both skin disorders that are treatable and could be preventable.
What is Impetigo?
Impetigo, a skin infection, creates sores and blisters. Generally, it impacts the hands, face, neck, and the diaper area of children. Impetigo can develop after other skin irritations such as scrapes, rashes, eczema, and insect bites. The bacteria involved in impetigo are group A streptococcus and MRSA, the latter of which is resistant to methicillin. Bullous impetigo presents with large blisters, while non-bullous impetigo brings the more common, crusted, form. In non-bullous impetigo, small blisters break, leaving red skin and eventually a brownish crust. Impetigo is itchy, and can be spread by scratching. It is contagious to others who come in contact with the skin or with items touched by the infection, such as towels or bedding.1 Hygiene, and not scratching rashes, can help prevent impetigo. Medical treatments for impetigo include oral or ointment antibiotics. The infected area should be cleansed daily with antibacterial soap, and it should be covered with bandages so that it doesn’t spread.2 Impetigo rarely impacts adults. Cleansing, removing crusts, and treatment with a prescription ointment, such as Bactroban, are the same first line treatment methods for adults. If the infection is resistant, oral antibiotics such as penicillin and cephalosporin can help. If MRSA is involved, other antibiotics (Bactrim, Septra) may be needed.3
Urticaria, also known as hives, is a rash that has itchy, raised bumps that may burn or sting. Hives can come from allergic or nonallergic reactions. Hives caused by allergies tend to be more acute in nature, but if they last longer than six weeks, they can be considered chronic. Chronic urticaria is not typically from allergies. “Wheals (raised areas surrounded by a red base)” can appear on the skin from food allergies, bee stings, fragrances, allergies to medications, or unknown reasons. Acute and chronic urticaria look the same. Dermatographic urticaria is caused by firm stroking or scratching of the skin. This reaction is not the normal reaction of skin to being scratched; in fact, it looks like “skin writing”. Antihistamines can treat that situation. Cholinergic urticaria (CU) is caused by sweating, bathing, stress, or exercise. One type of urticaria is from cold, windy, and damp conditions. The hives from CU last a much shorter time than the cold-induced hives. The cold-induced hives can last years, patients should protect themselves from their body temperature dropping, and there are a few prescriptions available for this condition. Patients who find allergic reactions to certain foods should avoid those triggers. Some patients may have an autoimmune component to their urticaria. Medical treatments of urticaria range from prescribing antihistamines, steroids, antidepressants, or topical creams, to having patients avoid triggers.4 Patients may also benefit from lifestyle changes. Joe Cross, the creator of the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, suffered from chronic urticaria and went on a 60 day juice cleanse to “reboot” his body and resolve his disease.5 Reducing stress, avoiding triggers, and making dietary and lifestyle changes may be effective. Chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture, meditation, and yoga can all help reduce stress. Regular exercise and changing the diet can also be useful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Find out more about rashes and treatment methods.