The key difference between impetigo and herpes is that impetigo is a skin infection caused by Staphylococci or Streptococci bacteria, while herpes is a skin infection caused by the herpes simplex virus.
Skin is the largest organ in the human body. The basic function of the skin is to protect the human body from different infections. However, sometimes the skin itself becomes infected. Skin infections are caused by a wide variety of germs such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Normally, mild infections are treated with over-the-counter medications. But serious infections are needed medical supervision. Impetigo and herpes are two types of skin infections caused by infectious agents.
What is Impetigo?
Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection caused by two types of bacteria known as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus. It is a highly contagious skin infection. Usually, impetigo affects infants and young children. Impetigo normally appears as reddish sores on the face. These sores are especially located around the nose and mouth. Sores can also be found on hands and feet. Over about a week, these sores burst out. Later they develop as honey-colored crusts on the skin. The sores can spread to other areas of the body through touching, clothing, and using the same towels. Itching and soreness are generally mild in the case of impetigo.
A less common form of impetigo condition called bullous impetigo causes larger blisters on the trunk of infants and young children. Moreover, ecthyma is a serious form of impetigo that causes painful fluid-filled sores on the skin. Impetigo can also cause complications such as cellulitis, kidney problems, and scarring. The diagnosis is made through physical examination. Furthermore, impetigo is treated with a prescription of antibiotic mupirocin (ointment or cream) applied directly to the sores on the skin two to three times a day for five to ten days. For ecthyma, the doctor might prescribe antibiotics taken by mouth.
What is Herpes?
Herpes is a skin infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. This virus causes small sores to appear on the skin. These sores develop around the mouth and nose. But they can appear anywhere on the body, including the fingers. The sores can be tender, painful, or tingly. After a few days to a week, these sores break open and ooze fluid. Later, crusts are formed on the affected area before healing over. Moreover, the rash lasts for around 7 to 10 days. The other symptoms include fever, swollen red gums, and swollen lymph nodes.
There are two types of herpes viruses that cause herpes skin infection. They are HSV1 and HSV2. HSV1 causes oral herpes. It spreads through skin-to-skin contact, kissing, and sharing items. Most of the time, infants and adults suffer from oral herpes. HSV2 causes genital herpes. It spreads through sexual contact. Adults usually suffer from genital herpes. Furthermore, both forms of the virus can enter the nerve cells of the body, where they remain dormant for a certain time of period. But, they can cause outbreaks due to certain factors that activate them, such as exposure to the sun, illness, fever, menstruation, and surgery. Antiviral creams or ointments can relieve burning, itching, or tingling. Sometimes antiviral pills can speed up the healing process. Antiviral drugs include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir.
What are the Similarities Between Impetigo and Herpes?
- Impetigo and herpes are two types of skin infections caused by microbial pathogens.
- Both skin infections can cause sores on the skin that ooze out fluids.
- They cause red rashes on the skin.
- Both medical conditions are contagious.
- Infants and children are affected by both medical conditions.
- They are not life threatening.
- Therefore, they are treatable medical conditions.
What is the Difference Between Impetigo and Herpes?
Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection while herpes is a viral skin infection. Thus, this is the key difference between impetigo and herpes. Furthermore, infants and children are mainly affected by impetigo, while infants, children, and adults are affected by herpes.
The following table summarizes the difference between impetigo and herpes.
Summary – Impetigo vs Herpes
Skin is the largest organ in the body, with many different functions. Skin infections are caused by different types of infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Impetigo and herpes are two types of skin infections. Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria while herpes is a skin infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. So, this is the summary of the difference between impetigo and herpes.
1. “Impetigo: All You Need to Know.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 July 2021.
2. “Herpes Skin Rash: Symptoms, Identification, and Treatment.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International.