Avatar universal

impetigo infection questions? Help?

i'm 25 years old and i was diagnosed with impetigo today (july 7th). First i had a painful canker sore on my tongue (july 4th) which made it very painful to eat. Then on july 5th, i woke up and i had an abrasion like thing on my lip and around my noise it was red and crusted yellow around my nostrils. Earlier this afternoon (july 7th), i ended up going to urgent care and the doctor said i had impetigo, and he wrote me up a prescription for antibiotic ointment (Mupirocin Ointment USP, 2%) and sent me on my way.

I still have some questions though!

1.) i read that impetigo is highly contagious. How contagious is it? i always wash my hands after i apply the ointment, and I don't touch the area at all, except when im putting the ointment on.
2.) how long can the impetigo bacteria live outside the body? like on surfaces such as towels or pillow cases?
3.) Do i really have to wash all my towels and pillow cases in hot water?
4.) how long will i be contagious for? i read that after 24 hours after the first treatment, impetigo is no longer contagious, is that true?
5.) I really need to shave my face, is it safe to do that while i have impetigo? I won't shave over the scabs at all, and i'll try my best to make sure the razor doesn't touch the areas. BUT would it be ok if i cleaned off the razors with some 91%  or 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol?
6.) Does 91%  or 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol kill the bacteria that causes impetigo on surfaces? (as in, if i sprayed my bed-sheets, pillow cases, shaving razors, and towels with rubbing alcohol, would it be ok then?

Please help!
2 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
1415174 tn?1453243103
Hello, and welcome to the infectious disease forum!
To answer your questions Impetigo is caused by one or two types of bacteria 90% of the time it is a Staph and the the 10% of the time it can be a Strep type of bacteria.
1. It is contagious by touching it and getting it on your clothes, sheets, towels, counter tops etc. by touching the sores and touching those areas.  If you wash your hands after you touch the sores then you should okay. Except that the doctors say to not have contact with other people until the rash or spots clear. This is one -two days or so after antibiotics. Partly because it could be a resistant strain that the ointment won't work on or it could be a strep. Usually, the ointment is good for that too though. Just resistant strains are not. If it doesn't clear then they would culture it.

2.Depending on the humidity Staph can live up to two weeks on surfaces. So if you have to have contact with people if you have blisters or pus you should cover those and not touch surfaces or their skin. If it is a resistant strain ask your doctor for specifics.

3. Yes you really do have to wash everything in hot water several times. Once the blisters or pus is gone then you will stop spreading it to yourself and others. But it can come back so watch out for more blisters or pus, or boils.

4. I think if you do shave I would toss the disposable razor out. You can try to clean it with 3% hydrogen peroxide but better let it sit in a disposable cup for about 5 minutes (like a dixie cup or something). You don't want to create more broken skin. This can cause you to get a worse infection.

5. Alcohol really doesn't kill bacteria it kills viruses. It can cause the bacteria to dry out and maybe on surfaces kill it. So I would wash bedding since putting alcohol really won't do the trick. Soap and hot water will be better.

Hope this helps.

Helpful - 0
1415174 tn?1453243103
p.s.  again regarding the razor, if it is a strep bacteria and not a staph you really don't want to break the skin. Also, if is a resistant strain like what they call MRSA then you don't want to mess with that kind of bacteria. So be very very careful or don't shave.
Helpful - 0
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Infectious Diseases Community

Top Infectious Diseases Answerers
1415174 tn?1453243103
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Fearing autism, many parents aren't vaccinating their kids. Can doctors reverse this dangerous trend?
Can HIV be transmitted through this sexual activity? Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia answers this commonly-asked question.
A breakthrough study discovers how to reduce risk of HIV transmission by 95 percent.
Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia provides insight to the most commonly asked question about the transfer of HIV between partners.
Before your drop a dime at the pharmacy, find out if these popular cold and flu home remedies are a wonder or a waste
Fend off colds and the flu with these disease-fighting foods