Impetigo is a skin infection that affects primarily infants and children. It is highly contagious. Treatment varies, according to type and severity. Some cases are mild and heal on their own, according to the Mayo Clinic, while others are severe enough to require an oral or topical antibiotic, or both. In either case, home remedies can help the skin infections heal more rapidly, prevent them from spreading and ease discomfort.
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Keep Infected Areas Clean
Keeping affected areas clean is a key factor in helping impetigo skin infections heal. Use water and an unscented antibacterial soap to wash the infected areas at least once a day with a clean cloth or gauze. If you are using a topical antibiotic, cleanse the area before each application, which is usually three or four times a day. The Maryland Community Health Administration recommends covering the infected area loosely with a bandage, gauze or clothing after cleaning.
Remove Crusted Areas
Sometimes, areas of the infected skin crust over and form scabs. Removing the layers of crust can help facilitate healing. To make the scabs easier to remove, the Nemours Foundation recommends soaking in warm, soapy water for several minutes. After soaking, remove as much of the crusted area as possible. Another remedy, suggested by the Mayo Clinic, is to soak crusted areas in a vinegar solution for 20 minutes before removing crusts. Use 1 tbsp. white vinegar to 1 pint of warm water.
Remedies for Itching
Impetigo often causes itching. It is important not to scratch, however, because scratching can worsen the infection and cause it to spread. Excessive scratching can even cause scarring. Keep fingernails cut short until the infection is gone, and use an over-the-counter anti-itch medication.