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School Sores - Impetigo


What Are School Sores?

School sores, also known as "impetigo",  is a skin infection caused by either the Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria and it is highly contagious.  It earned it's more commonly used nickname because it is generally children of school age who contract it, although there have been a few reported cases of it in babies and adults.

What Do School Sores Look Like?
The infection will start in tiny blotches or blisters around the nose and mouth which turn red and become moist, oozy sores that eventually develop a crust.  It is the yellowish fluid that these blisters release that makes them contagious.

How Does It Spread?
School sores are very easily spread from person to person, or to other parts of an infected person's body when they scratch or pick at the blisters or sores and then touch someone else, or another area on their own body.  It can also be spread by contact with such personal items as soap, towels, bed linen or clothing.

Incubation Period For School Sores
The time it takes for you to discover whether or not your child has been infected, will depend upon the bacteria they have been infected with.
For the Streptococcus bacteria, expect to see signs within 1-3 days of contact with an infected person.  For the Staphylococcus it may take longer, with an expected period of 4-10 days.

How Do I Prevent School Sores From Infecting Anybody Else?
Although nothing is fool-proof, especially with some children, there are steps you can take to avoid having the infection spread to other members of your family – especially babies, as this infection can be quite serious in infants – or to anyone at school etc.

1. The most important is to get them treated by your doctor ASAP.
2. Do not allow your child to attend school or any extra-curricular activities while they are in the contagious stage – which is until it has been treated and the sores desist oozing.
3. Try to prevent them from scratching and picking at the sores, and from touching anybody else.  Try to get them to wash their hands thoroughly after touching their sores, preferably with an antibacterial soap, although this is not a guaranteed preventative.
4. With younger children it may be necessary to clip their nails short to prevent them from scratching and from any of the contagious fluid from being trapped under the nails unnoticed.
5. Keep their toiletries, towels and other such personal items seperate from everybody else's, and once they are over the infection, wash everything in hot, soapy water. You can use an anti-bacterial soaker or washing liquid such as Dettol produce if you would like to be extra careful.
6. When treating an infected child, ensure that you either wear disposable gloves, or wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

How Are TheyTreated?
Impetigo is treated in a number of ways, which all usually coincide with each other.  The strictest adherence to any treatment regime that your doctor recommends is important to the quick recovery of you child.  Some of the recommended treatments may include one or more of the following:

• A course of oral antibiotics or bactericidal ointment.
• You may be prescribed a soap or lotion which you may need to wash the sores with every 12 hours, or as advised by your doctor.  Ensure when you dry your child, that you gently pat them dry to avoid damaging the sores, or spreading them further.
• An air-tight dressing may be a recommended precaution which will help with the healing and allow the child to return to school.
• It is recommended that you change and wash their bed linen and towels etc once a day to avoid contact with infected items.
• Continue to wash hands thoroughly after you have tended your child, and likewise for them.

Healing will usually commence within 3 days of starting the treatment and you can expect the infection to be cleared up within 7-10 days.




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