Causes and Natural Treatment of Impetigo in Elderly Adults

Causes and Natural Treatment of Impetigo in Elderly Adults
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Impetigo is a superficial infection of the skin, meaning it involves the top layers of the skin. Lesions begin as small red macules which rapidly become blisters that rupture and become covered with a honey-colored crust. It is highly contagious when there is oozing and crusting. Impetigo is seen in all ages, but is particularly common among infants and children living in poor hygienic conditions.

Causes of Impetigo in Elderly Adults

Impetigo is a bacterial infection caused by staphylococci or streptococci (two bacterias that can live harmlessly on the skin). In adults, the bacteria often enters the body through injured skin or an existing skin condition like dermatitis. People who live in warm and humid climates, have a chronic skin problem or have a weak immune system are more likely to get it.

Natural Treatment for Impetigo

Immune System

The immune system in elderly adults are often weakened because of the aging process. The following can help improve its function:


The immune system needs the right nourishment to function properly and many older people suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and foods containing probiotics like yogurt. Avoid processed foods, foods containing trans fats and foods high in saturated fats and sugars. You may also want to take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement.


The following herbs can help boost your immune system to fight infections: echinacea, astragalus, goldenseal, ginseng, sage, nettle, licorice, St. John’s wort, garlic and cayenne.

Talk to your doctor before taking herbs or supplements.

Topical Treatments

Keeping the Area Clean

Use warm water and a mild soap to gently wash the affected area two to three times a day. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or iodine. Both can be toxic to healthy tissue and can slow the healing process. After washing the area, soak the lesions in a warm saline solution or apply a warm compress to the site for 15 to 20 minutes. Heat dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow.


Before antibiotics, honey (a natural antiseptic) was often used to treat infections. In fact, it is making a come back because it has been shown to stop the growth of bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. It does not cause damage to healthy tissue and it has no side effects like some antibiotics can have. Honey from the supermarket will not help. You will need to use a medicinal honey like manuka honey.

The above natural treatments for impetigo can help elderly adults; however, it is recommended to seek medical advice.


Medline Plus: Impetigo -

Andrew Weil, M.D.: Impetigo -

Photo by Mike Paro / Flickr


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