School Sores: Signs and Remedies

School sores, also known as impetigo, is a skin infection, as it predominantly affects school-age children. Being easily spread, the infection is caused by Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacteria. It is more common in the summer. The condition usually appears as red sores on the nose and mouth (see the picture). These will eventually burst and develop an orange/yellow-colored crust.

How to Know If Your Kid Has School Sores

The time span between catching an infection and the appearance of symptoms is known as the incubation period. With impetigo, the incubation period usually lasts 1-3 days for Streptococcal infections and 10 days for Staphylococcal infections.

Common symptoms include:

If the infection occurs over a bigger area of the skin, the child may develop more serious symptoms, including:

Doctors can usually diagnose impetigo infection by examining the skin for these symptoms. Your doctor may take a sample of the fluid or crust from the blisters, and send this off to the lab to identify the type of bacteria causing the infection.

How to Treat School Sores

The treatment depends on the type and the extent of the infection. Impetigo will usually heal by itself within 2 to 3 weeks, but treatment can relieve symptoms and shorten the length of the condition.

The following remedies including natural treatment are commonly used to treat impetigo:

1.       Home Remedies

2.       Apply Antiseptic

Apply antiseptic (containing ingredients such as povidone iodine, hydrogen peroxide, and chlorhexidine) or antibiotic (containing fusidic acid, mupirocin, or retapamulin) ointment 2-3 times daily to the affected skin and the surrounding area. Continue this treatment until the skin has completely healed - look for any new lesions appearing.

3.       Oral Antibiotics

Oral antibiotics may be considered if the infection persists or returns even after topical treatment. Impetigo is usually treated with flucloxacillin, a penicillin-type antibiotic. This treatment usually lasts about 7 days; remember to take the entire course of drugs to prevent the development of antibiotic resistance.

4.       Other Options

If the sores persist after using the above therapies, the following strategies may help to clear up the infection:

How to Reduce the Spread of School Sores

Although impetigo is not considered a serious ailment, it is very contagious. As it is a skin infection, impetigo is easy to notice, which can cause some distress or embarrassment. However, sores can develop even on clean skin, and does not indicate poor hygiene or bad parenting.

If your child develops the sores, the following measures can reduce the spread of infection, especially during the infectious stage, when the impetigo lesions are oozing or crusting over:

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