6-Year-Old Picks Up Impetigo Infection At The Beach

A 6-year-old girl from Virginia has a bacterial infection after swimming at a beach on June 11. Nicole Sullivan says her daughter, 6-year-old Bella, developed impetigo after a visit to Huntington Beach, Virginia, WTKR reports.

Impetigo is a contagious skin infection commonly affecting children between the ages of 2 to 5, particularly in the summer, notes Mayo Clinic. It’s not dangerous but, in rare conditions, can lead to kidney problems.

At first, the child simply experienced redness and swelling. “I thought maybe it was just poison ivy so I put some caladryl lotion on it and [gave her] some Benadryl,” Nicole said.

But Bella’s symptoms got worse.

“Tuesday morning she woke up and both eyes were completely closed shut and she was completely swollen, her face, her neck, her arms also,” her mother said. After taking her to the doctor, they realized a scratch on Bella’s face had allowed the contaminated water to infect her with impetigo.

“If you plan to take your child to the beach, see if they have any openings in their skin, hold off on going to the beach perhaps if you do see anything like that or cover them up really well,” Nicole advised. “I wouldn’t want anything like that to happen to other kids, it’s very painful.”

Environmental Health Manager for the Peninsula District Gary Hagy explained they test the water every week. But given the volatile nature of surface water, they can never eliminate risk. Officials are currently trying to gage what is causing the high bacteria levels.

A swimming advisory had been put up on June 8 after they detected high levels of bacteria, but it was lifted the next day. When Bella went swimming, there was no flag. Parents aren’t the only ones who should be worried about the infection.

“Adults and people with diabetes or a weakened immune system are more likely to develop ecthyma,” Mayo Clinic warns.

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