Impetigo or intertrigo are they the same skin disease?

October 19th, 2013 by Emily

Question: Impetigo or intertrigo are they the same skin disease?
Is impetigo and intertrigo the same skin disease? If someone has this how long does it take for it to go away? What do you place on it?

Best answer:

Answer by Belliger

‘IMPETIGO,’ (pronounced im – pet- EYE” – go), is a specific infection of the skin with a particular germ called “Staph. aureus.” It affects kids especially, and I have heard the study mis-pronounced as “the infant tiger” . The infected skin produces a gold-coloured discharge which soon dries into a golden crust, on a red background, seen here to the right of a child’s lip, , and here on the left side of a man’s face,

The gold colour of the rash is what gives Staph. aureus its name, (aureus = gold).

This rash is prone to spread to unaffected skin once you have it, (see that chap’s face), and it is also quite infectious by contact to others. Getting it superior needs an antibiotic cream to kill off the germ, and sometimes an antibiotic by mouth as well. It then heals without leaving a scar.

Impetigo affects exposed, ‘flat’ skin rather than skin-folds.

“INTERTRIGO,” (pronounced in- ter- TRYE”- go), even though a similar-sounding name, is quite different and not such a “specific” germ problem. Intertrigo is a rash within a skin-fold, on opposite sides of the skin-fold. Such massive skin folds include between the two buttocks, under the breasts in ladies, and in the armpits; also if you are very over-weight and have an ‘apron’ of tummy-fat, there is a huge skin-fold ‘under’ the apron of fat.

The reason that the insides of skin-folds are prone to problems, is because

- – (1) the skin inside sweats away normally, but when the skin folds are touching together there is no way that air can get in to evaporate the sweat. So the skin gets soggy with un-evaporated sweat.

- – (2) Also, the two sides of the fold make things worse by rubbing together, against apiece other, and scraping the skin surfaces. Then secondary germs can jump in too and cause an infection.

Here is an intertrigo in between the buttocks… caused by a secondary yeast infection; – - here is a rash between the fingers caused by secondary infection with a Pseudomonas germ; ; and here is a rash under the breasts caused by a secondary yeast infection.

What is fundamental to an intertrigo, is (a) the sogginess and scraping within a skin-fold caused by un-evaporated sweat, and (b) the follow-on skin infection. The germ which follows on is *not* specific, like it is in Impetigo. It can be a yeast,… a fungus,… or a bacterium.

The treatment of an Intertrigo is first of all, against the yeast, fungus, or bacterium, – - but after that, there is still the problem of the sweating, and patients might need to place a cotton-wool or gauze into the fold to prevent recurrence.
Excessive sweating in the armpits, can also be treated with a special aluminium paint.

I hope this is of some help.

Best wishes,

Belliger (retired uk gp)

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