As some of you will be aware we have had a number of cases of impetigo in school.
School have had contact from Jan Purton (Public Health Wales) and Dave Berry (Health & Safety at Flintshire Council). We have also liaised with our School Nurse Sally Reay.
Here is some information you might find useful.
What is impetigo?
* Impetigo is an infection of the skin caused by bacteria.
* Often bites and cuts become infected, and infection is then spread by scratching the sores and then touching other unaffected areas of the body.
Who catches impetigo?
* Anyone can catch impetigo. Although most cases are in children, adults can catch impetigo. It is most common in crowded settings, such as schools and nurseries.
* It tends to occur in small outbreaks.
How infectious is impetigo?
* Impetigo is highly infectious while the sores are still discharging pus.
* The risk of infection is especially high among other children living in the same house.
What is impetigo like?
* Itchy blisters or sores appear, expand and burst producing a discharge within the first 24 hours of infection.
* The blisters break down over 4-6 days forming thick crusts.
* Impetigo tends to affect the hands and face, though it can spread to other parts of the body.
How do you catch impetigo?
* Although impetigo often appears suddenly without an apparent cause, it is usually spread through direct contact with an infected person.
* It can also be caught by the sharing of towels and flannels with an infected person.
* It is also possible that it can be caught from furniture and toys etc. that an infected person has recently touched.
Can you prevent impetigo?
* Good personal hygiene is the best way to prevent infection. Keeping fingernails short, frequent hand washing, and using personal or disposable towels may prevent the spread of infection.
* Avoid using bar soap in communal areas since the bacteria may survive on the soap and be passed on to others using the soap.
* General cleaning of hard surfaces that have been touched by infected people is also useful. Consider door handles, tables, the backs of chairs, walls etc. In some
circumstances, where many cases of impetigo occur together, it is useful to undertake additional disinfection with a dilute solution of bleach. A bottle capful of household bleach in a ¼ bucket of water is an appropriate dilution (this will be approximately 20ml bleach in 980ml of water).
* Infectious patients should avoid skin-to-skin contact with others, and sharing towels and flannels.
How soon should a child be back at school after impetigo?
* Children should not attend school until all the sores have crusted over. Impetigo is infectious while the sores are discharging pus.
* Without treatment a person remains infectious with discharging sores for several weeks, but infectivity stops as early as 2 days after the start of treatment.
* Any children with suspected impetigo should seek advice from their doctor as soon as possible so that treatment can be started.
How can you treat someone with impetigo?
* Impetigo can be treated with antibiotics. This may be a cream or taken orally. The person applying the cream should wash their hands afterwards.
* Patients should be discouraged from touching the sores to prevent further spread, and should be reminded about hygiene, especially hand washing.
Mr Cass, Headteacher