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A Newport mother says that her child began suffering from a severe case of impetigo after swimming at Huntington Beach in Southern California.

According to Nicole Sullivan, her six year old daughter, Bella, went swimming at the beach with a scratch on her face. Sullivan says that, after Bella was finished swimming, she began to develop redness and swelling in her face that eventually progressed into a painful, itchy infection.

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“I thought maybe it was just poison ivy so I put some caladryl lotion on it and some Benadryl,” Sullivan told WTKR News. “Tuesday morning she woke up and both eyes were completely closed shut and she was completely swollen, her face, her neck, her arms also.”

Sullivan says that, after taking her to the doctor, Bella was diagnosed with impetigo, which was caused by bacteria in the water spreading inside of her cut.

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Impetigo is a common skin infection that mainly affects babies and young children. It usually shows up as red sores around the mouth and eye area and swelling around the face, however in Bella’s case it was much more severe.

According to Gary Hagy, the Environmental Health Manager for the Peninsula District, the water levels near the beach were tested recently before Bella went in, so there was no warning advisory at the time. He claims that a possible source of the bacteria that Bella was exposed to could have come from human waste.

Bella’s mom advises other parents to hold off on going to the beach if they notice their child has any cuts or other type of open wound.

“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,” Sullivan says. “I wouldn’t want anything like that to happen to other kids, it’s very painful.”

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