Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Adults sometime get impetigo, but it is the most frequent skin infection among children in which there are pus-filled eruptions. The blister-like swellings surrounded by an area of redness will form a honey colored crusted lesion in four to six days, and heal with good treatment in a week or two. It is transmitted either directly from one person to another, or by contact with pets, toys, or articles used by an infected person.
If the infection is promptly treated, cure is often achieved in a week without extensive spread from the original site. The red spots develop one after the other, sometimes within hours of one another, causing a good bit of consternation in parents who witness its rapid spread. The lesions may be intensely itchy and the child's fingernails should be cut off to the quick, and the hands should be covered first with gloves, and then with mittens, or with large socks which are secured on the arms by ties or tapes to prevent night-time scratching. Neglect of treatments may allow growth of germs other than those of impetigo, and thus prolong the infection.
Antiseptic herbs can be used such as garlic blenderized in water and used to moisten compresses, which are then fixed to the skin lesions between baths. Comfrey root compresses, goldenseal root compresses, starch compresses, are all good direct applications. To encourage crust to fall off, give four to six baths a day, or even as often as once every two hours during the waking part of the day. Put 2 drops of grapefruit seed extract, such as Nutribiotic, in one ounce of water or glycerin and apply to lesions directly after soaks.
Charcoal baths made by stirring one-half to one cup of charcoal in a bathtub of water, or quarter of a cup in an infant bathtub, can reduce the total germ load.
If the application of poultices between baths makes the lesions spread, the lesions should be left to air dry, and drying encouraged by an electric fan, sunning, or the use of a blow dryer. If the scalp becomes involved, the hair can be plaited rather tightly in small braids, to prevent the necessity of cutting the hair short, making a large number of tiny braids so that exposed scalp can be more easily treated between the braids.
Change bed clothes and bathroom linens daily, keeping the linens of the patient separated from the rest of the family to reduce the likelihood of contagion. Do not expose other children by swimming, school attendance, doctor office visits, or other visiting. Use a diet free from refined sugars or refined fats. If lymph glands become swollen, hot baths will boost the effectiveness of the immune system, one minute for each year of the patient's age.
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Seale, Alabama 36875