What is Impetigo?

Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria. Common in young children, impetigo can present as boils, carbuncles, furuncles and abscesses. It is mostly seen on the face and around the mouth, but can be found any place on the skin.


What does impetigo look like?

Symptoms of impetigo are red skin and skin that may ooze. Small bumps with honey-colored crusts or blisters may be clustered together or appear in larger red areas. The basic impetigo lesion often looks like scalded skin. Impetigo spreads quickly and is often itchy. Children may scratch the crusts off and cause a little bleeding.


What causes impetigo?

Bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus cause impetigo. These bacteria usually only cause infection when the skin is injured (scraped, cut, scratched, etc.). It can spread easily among small children who touch everything and is, therefore, very common among this age group. Impetigo can also be caused by the same bacteria which cause strep throat.


How is impetigo diagnosed and treated?

Your health care provider can tell you if your child has impetigo. Impetigo is usually treated with a combination of a special soap, antibiotic ointment, and an oral antibiotic.


How can I protect my family and others from getting impetigo?

• Check your family’s skin for impetigo rashes.

• If you suspect that your child has impetigo rash, take him or her to their doctor so medicine may be prescribed.

• If your child has impetigo, they can return to daycare or school after taking medicine for 24 hours.

• Keep the impetigo rash clean and dry. Cover it lightly so the ooze and crusts cannot be spread to other people.

• Anyone who touches the rash should wash his or her hands very well.