You think when you become a parent you believe that the most rigorous decisions are going to be where to send them to university and comforting them after their first heartbreak. What is laborious is to plan for all the illnesses foreboding their wellness and comfort in this big frightening world.
Impetigo is one such infection that targets the young for their still-developing bodies.
Signs & Symptoms of Impetigo in a Newborn
Impetigo arrives from bacteria that is living on every person’s skin. It only becomes problematic when the immune system is compromised either by age, illness, or injury. For newborns, their systems haven’t adequately developed to fight off environmental bacteria. That is why impetigo in a newborn is significantly more explosive than in an older child or adult.
If your baby displays any of the following symptoms, go to the doctor:
- Red skin rash
- Blisters filled with fluid
- Crusty scabs the color of honey or gold
Infants are at a raised risk of contracting the harsher form of the disease, bullous impetigo. It shows the same signs as above, but the blisters are considerable and encompass clear liquid. After bursting, the huge blisters can resemble scales. Watch for sores to develop on the face and in the diaper area.
A professional will sort diagnosis into three classifications:
- Mild. A small patch of lesions. Child feels fine otherwise.
- Moderate. More than 10 open sores. Infection has scattered to multiple body parts.
- Severe. Abundance of blisters. Child displays a fever, chills, diarrhea, and/or fatigue.
Complications of Impetigo in Pregnancy
Entering pregnancy means having to follow a new set of rules you never judged before. People start serving up overwhelming amounts of advice. They tell you to give up alcohol, caffeine, sushi, and cleaning the litter box (maybe that one’s not so bad). But do you have to take special precautions against infectious diseases? What about impetigo during pregnancy?
Since the bacteria that causes the infection is already inhabiting your skin as we speak, if you are otherwise healthy during the gestation period you needn’t worry about contracting impetigo or passing it along to the fetus. Even if you do find yourself with an outbreak of blisters, the infection stays localized to the skin. The baby won’t be able to contract it from you.
Pregnant women are advised to avoid taking antibiotics while their child is developing its own immunities, but topical antibacterial creams shouldn’t cause complications if needed for a skin reaction.
What is Impetigo Herpetiformis?
In your pregnancy bootcamp training you may have heard some weird things come up. Among those is a rare condition called impetigo herpetiformis. Differing from traditional impetigo, this condition is actually similar to pustular psoriasis, but is triggered by pregnancy. In the third trimester, afflicted women may see clusters of blisters filled with pus on their trunk and lower extremities. Usually sores are contained to these areas, but have been known to latch onto mucous membranes in the mouth and nose. The medical community isn’t quite sure why this condition decides to rear its head during the last trimester.
Women with hypothyroidism are at a higher risk for developing impetigo herpetiformis as their autoimmune disorder causes blood levels of calcium and albumin to drop. Side-effects, outside of the bumpy rash, are fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue.
If you discover this style of rash on your body and you are pregnant, it is critical to seek out treatment from your OBGYN. The illness does come with an increased risk of stillbirth. Standard protocol is a regiment of prednisone.
How to Prevent Impetigo
Being militant about hygiene practices is the eidolon tactic to halt the spread of infectious diseases. The prevailing way to transmit the infection is by person-to-person contact, so ultimately washing your hands is the best defense in how to prevent impetigo.
The bacteria can live on surfaces for a short period of time, so sanitize shared items like:
- Household surfaces (countertops, bathroom vanities, toilet seats, etc)
If your children attend school or daycare, make sure you are regularly making the tots wash their hands as soon as they return home. Change their clothes from school outfits to at-home getups. Anything you can do to break the chain of germs leading from the group of children to your home will improve the prevention efforts.
Regular baths or showers are important to prevention too. Teach children to pay attention to specific areas like under their fingernails and behind the ears.
Prevent Blisters from Being Contagious
Let’s dive into the worst case scenario: your children have a flare-up of those yellow blisters. Here is the best decorum to observe:
- Keep them home. Sending them into the world will disperse the infection into the population. No daycare, school, sports, or church until they have been on antibiotics for at least 24 hours.
- Cover them up. The greatest risk of contagion comes from direct contact with the open blisters. Apply bandages to open sores. Dress the kids in long sleeves or pants to hide the rash. This can discourage scratching too.
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