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Defining the Future of Dermatology

Impetigo

  • Impetigo
    Impetigo is caused a bacterial infection and is most commonly seen in children.
  • Impetigo
    Impetigo is a skin infection that often appears as blisters around the mouth and nose. It is most common in children.

About

Impetigo

Impetigo is a common superficial bacterial skin infection. It is most commonly seen in children ages 2-5, but older children and adults can be affected. Impetigo is contagious, and is easily spread among individuals in close contact.

Causes

Impetigo is caused a bacterial infection, most commonly Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes (also called group A streptococcus, which also causes strep throat). These bacteria are commonly found on your skin and in your nose, but can cause problems if it gets under the skin.

Risk Factor

Impetigo usually affects preschool and school-age children. A child may be more likely to develop impetigo if the skin has already been irritated by other skin problems, such as eczema, poison ivy, insect bites, and cuts or scrapes.

Some things that increase your chances of contracting impetigo include:

  • Close contact with an infected person
  • Close contact with the belongings of an infected person
  • Poor hygiene, such as dirty fingernails or unwashed hands
  • Crowded areas
  • Contact sports
  • Warm, humid environment where bacteria flourish
  • Poor health

Symptoms

Impetigo may affect skin anywhere on the body but commonly occurs around the nose and mouth, hands, and forearms, and in young children, the diaper area. Symptoms typically appear within 4-10 days after contact with the bacteria.

The two types of impetigo are non-bullous (crusted) and bullous (large blisters):

  • Non-bullous or crusted impetigo is most common. It's usually caused by S. aureus but also can be due to infection with S.pyogenes. Non-bullous begins as tiny blisters that eventually burst and leave small wet patches of red skin that may weep fluid. Gradually, a yellowish-brown or tan crust covers the affected area, making it look like it has been coated with honey or brown sugar.
  • Bullous impetigo is nearly always caused by S. aureus, which releases toxins that trigger the formation of larger fluid-containing blisters that appear clear, then cloudy. These blisters are more likely to stay longer on the skin without bursting.

*Source:

American Academy of Dermatology Kid’s Health – Nemours Foundation

Treatment

Treatment

Impetigo usually is treated with antibiotic ointment. If the infection has spread to other areas of the body or the ointment isn't working, the doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics.

Once antibiotic treatment begins, healing should start within a few days. It's important to make sure that your child takes the medication as prescribed. Otherwise, a deeper and more serious skin infection could develop.

While the infection is healing, gently wash the areas of infected skin with clean gauze and antiseptic soap every day. Soak any areas of crusted skin with warm soapy water to help remove the layers of crust>

To keep your child from spreading impetigo to other parts of the body, the doctor or nurse will probably recommend covering infected areas of skin with gauze and tape or a loose plastic bandage. Keep your child's fingernails short and clean to prevent scratching that could lead to infection.

*Source:

American Academy of Dermatology Kid’s Health – Nemours Foundation

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