Impetigo can be an unsightly and unpleasant condition, but fortunately, there are many home remedies for impetigo, including tea tree oil, garlic, white vinegar, calendula, echinacea, grapefruit seed extract, heat therapy, ginger, and virgin olive oil, among others.
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What is Impetigo?
This fairly common bacterial infection of the skin occurs all around the globe, and affects more than 100 million people each year. Impetigo is rarely seen in adults, as it is closely associated with the frequent touching of bodily fluids, objects, and others, which is more commonly seen in children. Preschool children are particularly prone to impetigo, but so are those who engage in skin-to-skin contact sports, such as wrestlers. Other vulnerabilities to transmission exist, but are less common. The disease is characterized by sores near the mouth or nose that contain pus and will eventually break. These sores can then be spread to other parts of the body, and while they do not leave a scar when they heal, they can be quite painful.
Transmission occurs by physical contact with the sores or pus, as well as through other bodily fluids, namely nasal carriers. This bacterial infection can be quite extreme, in some cases, and is caused by the Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus bacteria. It is more commonly found in warm climates, and impoverished nations that experience malnutrition and poor hygiene. Its presence in schoolchildren can contribute to its rapid spread and lingering presence in the world. There have long been salves, antibiotics, and various pills that can be prescribed to treat impetigo, but there are also many natural remedies to fight against or prevent this infection. Let’s take a closer look at some of the home remedies for impetigo.
Home Remedies for Impetigo
Home remedies for impetigo include:
Tea Tree Oil
Used for generations, tea tree oil is one of the most widely used antibacterial products on the market. Its well documented effects on microbes and bacteria make it ideal for cleaning products, cosmetic products, and herbal remedies. If you apply some tea tree oil to the affected area, particularly early on in the infection, you stand a very good chance of neutralizing the bacteria and preventing those unsightly red sores.
Dietary changes can be an effective way to naturally remedy impetigo, and the wealth of beneficial fats and natural acids found in olive oil put it near the top of the dietary remedy list. Olive oil has been found to have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can not only protect your organ systems, but also boosts the immune system to prevent infections like impetigo from spreading.
Although this condition appears more often in warm areas of the globe, the bacteria cannot tolerate excessive heat, so applying hot water directly to the sores can often clear up this infection. Blow dryers are also effective ways to dry up the sores and stop the bacteria from spreading. Applying a hot compress to the affected areas and sores may also do the trick!
The potent antibacterial, antioxidant, and antimicrobial potential of ginger is well known, making it a great home remedy for impetigo. Ginger is also a powerful anti-inflammatory substance, so applying ginger root in the form of a poultice directly on the affected areas, or adding ginger to your diet, can help you quickly eliminate the infection.
Arguably the most famous dietary bacteria-buster is garlic, and with its long history of fighting infections from inside and out, it remains an important home remedy for impetigo. You can either strain garlic cloves and apply a poultice to the affected area, or you can simply add some garlic to your diet. Either way, the active ingredient in garlic, allicin, as well as other antibacterial components, will eliminate the infection in no time.
To prevent the spread of the bacteria, it is important to keep the affected area clean and dry. A natural antibiotic scrub can be made with white vinegar, as it will not only disinfect the area and kill the bacteria, but also dry up the skin and prevent transmission to others.
Another legendary herbal remedy from China, astralagus has been used for thousands of years to boost the immune system, thus protecting against the bacteria that cause impetigo. You can take daily supplements of astralagus, or it comes in liquid and tincture forms. This should be available at any health food store.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
While not the most common household herbal remedy, grapefruit seed extract has potent antioxidant and antibacterial abilities, making it ideal for clearing up a case of impetigo. If you mix some grapefruit seed extract with water and then gently apply the mixture to the affected area two or three times a day, you will prevent the spread of the infection and speed the healing of the sore.
The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities of this herb make it important in the natural treatment of impetigo. If can disinfect the sores, thus stopping the spread of the infection, while also healing the redness and relieving the pain associated with the sores. Calendula extract is available from most herbalists and organic health stores.
Echinacea is used for dozens of different conditions, as it is a powerful immune system booster, in addition to providing antibiotic and antibacterial protection to the body. If you suffer from impetigo, the various health benefits of echinacea can help you heal faster and stay protected. It can even be used as a preventative cure if you’re at high risk of contracting impetigo.
A Final Word of Warning: While these home remedies can be effective, severe or widespread infections are best treated with more formal pharmaceutical therapies, if only to prevent the infection from spreading to others. As always, before adding new powerful elements to your diet or herbal regiment, consult a doctor, particularly if you are being medicated for other conditions.