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Health Topics
School Sores

School sores are a highly contagious condition also called impetigo. These sores can occur anywhere on the skin but are most commonly found on the face, around the mouth and nose area. The infection usually begins with tiny blisters which break open to become an area of weeping skin that develops a crust. Then the infection spreads forming new blisters which may be itchy but rarely painful. This condition is most commonly found in young children but can sometimes affect adults also.

Impetigo is usually caused by two strains of bacteria (staphylococcus and streptococcus). It can spread by direct contact from sores or from any materials (such as towels) that have been contaminated with blister fluid. It takes a week to ten days for the blisters to develop and a further week to ten days for the sores to heal. The risk factors fro contracting the condition include sensitive skin, eczema, low immune resistance, poor hygiene, poor nutrition, humid weather and crowded living conditions.

The Doctor should be consulted to diagnose and treat impetigo. In mild cases and antibiotic cream will be recommended but in severe cases oral antibiotics may well be required to kill the bacteria. Children with impetigo should not attend school or daycare until the sores are crusted or healed.

Towels should not be shared with a person with impetigo. Antibacterial soap should be used and the sufferer should avoid picking at the sores. Finger nails should be trimmed and if possible the sores should be covered.

Some diet hints include limiting the amount of refined sugar, adding some garlic to meals and increasing vegetables, fish and grains. Vitamin C can help fight infection and Vitamin E and beta carotene can help with skin repair.

Ask the Staff at the Pharmacy for antibacterial washing products, for vitamin supplements, for Echinacea to boost the immune system and for antiseptic creams to help treat impetigo should the infection occur.

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Kevin McCormack B.Sc. Pharm. MPSI