Since my kids started school I have encoutered a lot of diseases and illnesses that I’d previously never heard of or only read about in books. If you look up impetigo on the Internet, you’ll find that it’s a skin disease common in Third World countries where nutrition and hygiene are inadequate. But, hey, I know a kid who rides around in a Mercedes who has it. Several kids at my son’s school, including Jio, were recently afflicted with impetigo. We’ve been treating it with a topical bacterial cream, but it’s itchy, and the bandages come off, so I broke down and got him some oral medication. The doctor told me not to touch it, and if I did, to wash my hands, and inwardly I was thinking, “I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW!!!!” Well, Jio woke up in the wee hours, and in a gesture of affection, I brushed his arm with the back of my hand. Almost immediately, I felt a kind of burning sensation, and I knew I should drag myself to the sink and wash my hands, but I didn’t. Within two hours, I had an open sore on my knuckle. Eew! It’s so disgusting and it spreads so easily and quickly. It’s like flesh-eating bacteria or something. I can imagine someone making a horror movie about it – “Impetigo!”


6 thoughts on “Impetigo!

  1. My son had tobi-hi years ago. I translated it at first as impetigo but then, checking it out on the intenet, later thought they were different and that tobi-hi is something that just doesn’t exist in North America. Anyway, it sounds like your son has tobi-hi, whatever that is in English! In my son’s case, he caught it just before we went home to Canada one summer. No, no, no oral antibiotics for my son, I said, making a big stink at the doctor’s (and actually going back into the office to hand him back the prescription he had given us!). Just the cream will be fine. Well the cream was useless; by the time we got off the plane in Canada his face was basically covered in open sores. I had visions of him being the 21st century ‘Typhoid Mary;’ ‘Impetigo Taro’ if you will. So off we went lickety split to a clinic in Calgary, heads bowed low and hands tightly clutching a prescription for antibiotics as we left. And so it finally cleared up, but now before I caught it as well. But that’s another story…

  2. You’re right, Jean, it’s tobi-hi. I think a doctor here translated it as impetigo for me. A couple of weeks ago, we dealt with the dreaded kemushi, another thing I’d never encountered before coming to Japan. I used to pooh pooh the Japanese fear of caterpillars, but not anymore…

  3. I hear you on the caterpillar thing as well! One hundred and twenty-five million people all telling me that kemushi are horrific things if they touch you, but no, I knew better than them, right? A similar thing happened to an Australian friend here when she let a mukuge crawl over her bare foot – how bad can it really be?? – she thought. Well I guess the answer was REALLY BAD!! She won’t be doing that again… Hmm, perhaps I should hack down that lacquer tree we have, yet another thing that my MIL says will cause untold suffering to us and which I have trouble taking seriously…

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