What is impetigo?
Impetigo is a skin infection caused by different kinds of bacteria. It occurs when the bacteria gets into scrapes, cuts or open bug bites. Impetigo most often occurs in the summer. Though it is most common in children, anyone can get it. People who live in crowded conditions, play contact sports or have other skin problems are more at risk of developing it.
What are the symptoms of impetigo?
Impetigo usually appears around the mouth and nose, but can appear anywhere else on skin that is not covered by clothes. The rash can start as a group of blisters or red bumps. The blisters may ooze or be covered with a honey-coloured crust. Many bacteria live under the crust.
Impetigo can sometimes lead to a more serious skin infection . If this happens you may develop fever, pain, swelling and feel weak.
You should see a health care provider if the illness seems to be causing more serious symptoms.
How is impetigo spread?
The infection is spread when someone touches an impetigo rash. The infection can also spread by touching items such as bed sheets, towels, face cloths and clothing that have been in contact with an infected person’s skin.
How is impetigo treated?
Impetigo is treated with antibiotics that can be given by mouth or applied on the skin in the form of an ointment. The treatment is available by prescription only. It is important to take all of the medication that has been given, until it is finished, even if the rash goes away before the medication is done. Keep the infected areas covered.
Do not return to school, daycare or work (if you handle food) for one full day after taking the antibiotic.
How is impetigo prevented?
Family members should not share face cloths or hand and bath towels while someone is infectious. Treatment of impetigo with antibiotics can also prevent the spread of infection. Keep cuts, scratches and bites clean and covered. Keep fingernails cut short to avoid spreading the bacteria.
Simple preventative measures can reduce the spread of infection.