What is Impetigo?
Impetigo and urticaria are both skin disorders that are both treatable and could be preventable. Impetigo, which is 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 the skin condition can be spread by scratching. The patient’s condition is contagious to other people who come in contact with the skin or with other items which have come into physical contact with the infection, such as the patient’s towels or bedding. Patients should be cautious about this, especially if they live with other people.1
Urticaria, a condition which is also more commonly referred to as hives, is a rash that has itchy, raised bumps that may burn or sting. Hives can come from both allergic and nonallergic reactions. Hives which were 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 does not typically result from allergies. Wheals, which are areas which have become raised and are surrounded by a red base, can appear on the skin from food allergies, bee stings, fragrances, allergies to medications, or for unknown reasons.
Acute and chronic urticaria may both look the same, but it is the duration, regularity, and causes which make the two conditions differ. Dermatographic urticaria is caused by firm stroking or scratching of the skin. This reaction is not the same as the normal reaction of skin to being scratched. In fact, it could be described as looking like “skin writing”. Antihistamines could be used to 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 for a much shorter duration than the length of time that cold-induced hives remain. The cold-induced hives can last years, and patients need to protect themselves from their body temperature dropping.2
Treatment Options Available for Impetigo and Urticaria
Good Hygiene & Medications
Practicing good hygiene, and not scratching rashes, can help prevent the onset of impetigo. Medical treatment options available for impetigo include oral or ointment antibiotics. The infected area should be cleansed daily with antibacterial soap. The area should always be covered with bandages so that it does not spread through contact. Patients should not share items which have come into contact with the infection with others.3 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 as they are used for children. If the infection is resistant, oral antibiotics such as penicillin and cephalosporin can help. If MRSA is involved, other antibiotics, such as Bactrim and Septra, may be needed. The patient’s doctor should be able to recommend the best course of action for treating the skin disorder.4
Avoiding Allergic Triggers
There are also methods of treatment which can be used to managed urticaria. For example, there are a few prescriptions available for managing this condition. Patients who find that they have allergic reactions to certain foods or other substances should avoid those triggers. Even milder allergies should be noted and generally avoided, as there is the potential to worsen minor allergies through repeated aggravation. 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.5
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. He found this method to be effective, though not every patient finds that juicing helps them.6 Reducing stress, avoiding triggers, and making dietary and lifestyle changes may be effective.
Chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture, meditation, and yoga are all methods of treatment which help reduce stress. Regular exercise and changing the diet can also be useful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Practitioners of chiropractic care might have recommendations for exercises and stretches which could help the patient reduce stress. A massage therapist might also be working in the same office as a chiropractor, so the patient could see both types of alternative care professionals more easily. Stress is a major factor in aggravating a large number of health issues, so patients may find that their overall health improves through adopting a more stress-reducing and health-focused lifestyle.
1, 2 http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/skin/impetigo.html
Find out more about rashes and treatment methods.