Searching for the perfect cure for impetigo? Need that pesky rash to stop spreading? We’ll cover all your bases concerning the options for impetigo management in this summary.
Induced by either Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus aureus, impetigo’s wildly infectious and contagious nature requires a rigorous therapy of Herculean strength to be eliminated.
The first line of opposition against a contagious impetigo infection is a topical therapy. Your physician will either recommend an OTC product or they’ll pen a prescription for something a bit more potent. Some of the most relied on topicals include the following:
Mupirocin for Impetigo
Of the three topical treatments we’ll detail here, mupirocin is the only one of prescription strength. For managing impetigo, mupirocin is the most effective. Mupirocin is a topically applied cream formulated from Pseudomonas fluorescens which makes it highly effective for treating staph and strep bacterial diseases. The primary function of mupirocin is to isolate the isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase enzyme of the invasive pathogen and inhibit its ability to produce the necessary proteins required to thrive. By isolating this enzyme mupirocin kills off the live bacteria.
Notably, its specialized functionality makes the bacteria unable to develop a resistance to it, as it so cleverly does with many other kinds of antibiotics.
Mupirocin for impetigo should be applied modestly three times a day for up to five days. If the condition doesn’t improve in this timeframe, get back in touch with your doctor.
The side effects merely include stinging and/or burning sensations, and some mild, localized itchiness.
Bactroban and Centany are the brand names under which mupirocin can also be distributed by your pharmacist.
Additionally, mupirocin is also available in a nasal spray format, which is useful for fighting nasal staph infections. Intranasally administering mupirocin is generally dependable for treating colonization of MRSA inside the nose.
The intranasal version yields another, heftier set of side effects which include general irritation of the nose, headaches, edema (swelling, the irregular buildup of fluid—specifically, in this instance, in the nostrils), rhinorrhea (accumulation of excess mucus in the nasal cavity or cavities), rhinitis (coryza), sore throat and/or cough, and distorted perceptions of taste and/or smell.
Neosporin for Impetigo
Neosporin can be habitually found in medicine cabinets across the land, and if it’s not in your inventory, just drop by your local drugstore and purchase it without a script—Neosporin is available over the counter. Its longstanding proliferation is thanks to the multitudinous skin conditions it relieves. People have trusted and counted on Neosporin for decades.
Also known as triple antibiotic ointment, Neosporin contains neomycin, bacitracin, and polymyxin B (sometimes shortened to “neo, bac, and polym”). Its nonprescription availability means it’s not as strong as prescription alternatives, but it can still treat extremely mild forms of impetigo.
Neosporin for impetigo should only be used in very light cases, or as a means of treating the blisters before you can reach the doctor’s office. It’s not nearly as effective as the aforementioned prescription-strength cream.
Bacitracin for Impetigo (topical)
Another OTC option that should only be employed as a proxy is bacitracin. This ointment can only handle very mild wounds in terms of infection prevention.
Bacitracin for impetigo, as it’s one of the ingredients of the Neosporin recipe, is also ineffective at fighting the seemingly indestructible infections of staph and/or strep.
Your doctor may call for support from oral antibiotics when a course of topical therapy has been ineffective in annihilating the perpetrator—stubborn impetigo.
Amoxicillin for Impetigo
Doctors and pharmacists trust amoxicillin to treat a vast selection of bacterial infections—everything from pneumonia to bronchitis, to urinary tract infections (UTIs), and STDs like gonorrhea and syphilis, to tonsillitis, typhoid, and, of course, skin infections such as impetigo.
The mechanism of action of amoxicillin is to hinder the targeted bacteria from creating cell walls. By doing so, the bacteria is killed. Amoxicillin attacks the infection during the stage of multiplication (spreading).
Amoxicillin falls under the penicillin umbrella, as it’s derived from Penicillium fungi. It comes in various forms such as traditional tablets or pills, capsules, suspensions, or drops. Chewable options are also available.
When orally ingesting amoxicillin for impetigo, it’s imperative to closely follow the directions provided by your prescribing physician. Dosing will vary greatly among adults and children, and it’s also contingent upon the nature of the infection itself.
Popular brand names recognized stateside for amoxicillin include Amoxil, Larotid, and Moxatag.
Cephalexin for Impetigo
Cephalexin is a systemic antibiotic in the family of cephalosporins. While this cephalosporin is futile when it comes to viral infections, it works wonders for a plethora of bacterial infections.
By stopping or significantly slowing down the production of cell walls, cephalexin kills bacteria similarly to the way amoxicillin does. However, it is not a penicillin derivative, rendering it an excellent alternative for patients with an allergy to penicillin. In addition to staph and strep, cephalexin also effective combats the Haemophilus influenzae and Escherichia coli (E. coli) pathogens.
The use of cephalexin for impetigo has been studied in clinical research and the effectiveness is on par with topical wonder drug mupirocin.
Trade names for cephalexin (or cefalexin) include Cepol, Ceporex, and most popularly, Keflex.
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