Treating and Controlling the Skin Condition Impetigo

Children pick up all kinds of different health issues at school or daycare, and seeing them come home covered in oozing blisters can be traumatic. If the sores turn out to be impetigo, you can relax, as it is a common skin complaint among kids. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several medications for the treatment of impetigo.

The blisters and sores that show up are with impetigo are caused by a bacterial skin infection, with the most commonly infected areas being on the face, neck, hands, and diaper region. Pediatrician Thomas D. Smith, MD, of the FDA explained that while impetigo is contagious, it is also preventable and manageable.

The Causes of Impetigo

The skin contains two types of bacteria that are responsible for impetigo, and they are Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes, the letter of which is also the trigger for strep throat. Most people carry these bacteria without any sort of issue, but a simple cut, scratch, or insect bite can lead to a bacterial infection that results in impetigo.

Anyone, child or adult, can get impetigo, and can suffer from it more than once. It’s an ailment that can hit at any given time, although, it is usually more prevalent in warmer months. In the U.S. alone, roughly 3 million cases of impetigo are seen every single year.

Smith explained that impetigo is most common in children aged 2 to 6 years old, as they are more likely to get the cuts and scrapes that can lead to the spread of bacteria.

Impetigo Treatment

Listed below are the most common signs of impetigo:

  • Fluid-filled sores that are prone to bursting and forming a yellow crust
  • Itchy rashes
  • Blisters filled with fluid

You should immediately contact your doctor if you see any of the above symptoms. Your doctor will probably prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to treat the impetigo. Multiple visible lesions are most commonly treated with oral antibiotics. What you will not find is an over the counter impetigo treatment option.

The Control and Prevention of Impetigo

If left untreated, impetigo will clear up in anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Smith makes it clear, though, that you need to use soap and water to keep the affected areas clean, and that you do not scratch. The problem with going this route is that the impetigo can spread to other parts of the body.

Perhaps more importantly, you may end up infecting other people. The spread of infection usually comes via close contact as opposed to casual contact. The spread to others can be prevented by doing the following:

  • Keeping the infected area clean using soap and water
  • Keeping sores and scabs loosely covered until they heal
  • Gently remove crusted over scabs
  • When you touch an infected area, wash your hands with soap and water

Since impetigo spreads via skin to skin contact, it is not uncommon to see outbreaks in a family or classroom setting. Smith recommends that you avoid using items that people infected with impetigo use. If you have impetigo, try to keep your nails short, as this will prevent the bacteria making home under the nails, making it easier to spread. Also, avoid scratching the sores.

If the symptoms persist or get worse, be sure to call your doctor. Signs of worsening symptoms include increased swelling, pain, and fever.


 

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Antidepressants: The Pros and Cons

The Effectiveness of Antidepressants

For most patients, a prescribed antidepressant only starts to take full effects after several weeks of taking the recommended daily dosage.

While it is human nature to come off medication once you start to feel better, this should only ever be done under the guidance of your doctor. Stopping too early can lead to withdrawals symptoms, not to mention the return of your depression.

It is worth noting that a large percentage of patients do not respond to their prescribed antidepressants. For those patients, all is not lost, as switching to a different medication or adding another may lead to improved results. Others may see no response, no matter what they try. Whatever the case, keeping an open dialog with your doctor is important.

Common Side Effects of Antidepressants

The most common antidepressant side effects include the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight gain
  • Diarrhea
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Sexual issues

Your doctor may need to prescribe several different medications before finding the one that works for you.

Potential Serious Health Risks

When prescribing an antidepressant, your doctor should talk to you about the potential health risks, some of which are discussed below:

Suicidal thoughts: Back in 2004, manufacturers of antidepressants were prompted by the FDA to add warning labels to all antidepressant medications. The labels are used to warn of the potential for an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in both children and adolescents in the initial treatment phase, as well as during an increase in dosage. The FDA required the warning to include young adults up to the age of 24 on labels after 2007.

You should immediately call your doctor if you, or someone you know, is having suicidal thoughts. Other options include a visit to the emergency room at your local hospital or a call to the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Birth defects: Pregnant women run the risk of harm to the fetus when taking antidepressants. If you are pregnant, plan on becoming so, or are breastfeeding, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about all the potential health risks that come when taking antidepressants.

High blood pressure: This health risk is most common in those taking MAOI’s for depression. Foods that contain high levels of the chemical tyramine should be avoided. These foods include, but are not limited to certain cheeses, pickles, and wines, as well decongestants and other medications. The combination of this chemical and MAOI’s can lead to a dangerous spike in blood pressure that can bring about a stroke. Talk to your doctor about a suitable diet when you are prescribed antidepressants.


 

Prevention of Nail Splitting

Nails are a lot more complicated than you think. What you see on the surface has actually been in the works for quite a while. So if you’re not looking after them from the inside out, it’s likely to lead to your nails splitting and peeling.

Brittle splitting nails is a common condition marked by thin or weak fingernails or toenails that are prone to splitting, chipping, pealing and breaking. This condition is also known as onychoschizia and it can occur if nails are either dry and brittle from too little moisture or soft and brittle from too much moisture.

More than 20 percent of the population has brittle nails. Brittle splitting nails most commonly affect women. The condition is also more common in older adults. This is due to the fact that nails grow more slowly as people age. The nails of older people have also undergone more exposure to sun and other conditions that cause brittle splitting nails.

Patients who have trouble with brittle splitting nails should consult a dermatologist about the best way to treat this condition. Brittle splitting nails are often treated by applying lotions that contain alpha hydroxy acids or lanolin. These substances can be applied to nails both before and after wetting the hands. Agents with urea or lactic acid are also effective at treating dryness. Taking a multivitamin with zinc, iron and biotin may increase the strength of nails. Olive oil is also an inexpensive treatment.

In addition, people can take other steps to prevent their nails from become split. It is best to avoid allowing the nails to repeatedly become wet and dry. Cotton-lined rubber gloves can protect the nails by keeping them dry during household chores, such as dishwashing. The gloves will also protect the nails from exposure to harsh cleaning products. People with an occupation that involves frequent wetting and drying of the nails will benefit from wearing gloves at the workplace.