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Monday, June 27, 2011
Impetigo - Diagnosis and Natural Treatment
A couple of weeks ago my (almost) 11 year old son showed me a a rash forming on his chin. It hurt and itched. We had been our working in the garden and yard work, we call got son, we were all dirty. I told him to take a shower and put some chickweed salve on it. I thought he might have gotten into to poison ivy or something of the like. I told him we would watch it. He did the same the next day. That night he was miserable in bed. I inspected it in the morning. It started oozing a yellow puss and was scabbing...I failed to mention his infected spot was on his chin. OH how childhood memories started flooding back to me. I knew exactly what it was. I used to get it when I was a child (about his age) every summer...It was Impetigo! YUCK! I immediately went into research mode. My mom used to use Campho-Phenique on me when I was a girl, as per our doctor's instruction. But it was a long process. She was unaware of herbalism at that time...I want to treat him out of my apothecary. This is what we did:
1. Diagnosis -I was confident I knew what this was from my experience with it. This is always the place one must start. "Name it and claim it" as our charismatic friends like to say. :-)
2. Research it - Since I "had a name" I could research it. My questions were what causes this? I already knew it was very contagious from my personal experience, and if it goes untreated it gets severe. I knew all its symptoms from personal experience too. It is itchy and painful, it pusses and oozes than scabs and pusses and oozes from under the scab. It spreads from scratching and keeping your hands off of it is nearly impossible (especially for kids) because the itch is maddening and even though it hurts to scratch, the pain distracts from the itch for instance. So I was empathetic to that symptoms of intense itching as it heals.
**As an adult treating it - I needed to know - Is this fungal, bacterial or viral? Infections are always one of these three. It is important to know which one you are dealing with so that you can treat it most effectively. When answering these questions one can better choose the herbal/natural remedy to use. So often, there is more than one things that can be used, because there are many herbs with similar properties that treat similar ailments.
In this case, impetigo is Bacterial. Here is a brief analyses of Impetigo for you:
Impetigo is a skin infection, caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, or both, that leads to the formation of scabby, yellow-crusted sores and, sometimes, small blisters filled with yellow fluid. Impetigo is common. It affects mostly children. Impetigo can occur anywhere on the body but most commonly occurs on the face, arms, and legs. The blisters that may form (bullous impetigo) can vary from pea-sized to large rings and can last for days to weeks. Impetigo often affects normal skin but may follow an injury or a condition that causes a break in the skin, such as a fungal infection, sunburn, or an insect bite.
(From my experience, I always used to get it on my chin, in a patch. It always came in the summer. I was an active outdoor child.)
3. Now - for the remedies I chose. I wanted to treat this aggressively, from the inside and outside.
* I was very clear to instruct him to keep his hands off off his chin, and be mindful of anything that touches because it was contagious. I shared with him my understanding which was comforting to him.
* Goldenseal caps right away, 2 - 3x a day.
* Black Walnut Tincture topically throughout the day. (about 3x a day) I had him rinse it clean a few times a day and dab the tincture on it topically with cotton. It was alcohol based, which helped to dry up the oozing.
It cleared it up much faster than I ever remember it taking for me as a child. We had no spreading (on him or others) or scaring and we were pleased with the results. It also relieved the itching during his healing time too. So he was very glad for that. If it started to itch it was just a reminder to reapply the tincture and it would sooth it right away. The black walnut stained his skin a little during the treatment. We teased him and told him it looked like a 5 o'clock shadow (which he thought was funny)...but it only took a day or two after he stopped using it for that to fade back to normal too.
I shared this on the Homestead Barnhop