Impetigo is a skin infection that occurs most commonly in children and babies. Because impetigo primarily affects school-aged children, it’s often called school sores. Most cases of impetigo occur during warmer weather.
What causes impetigo?
Impetigo is caused by Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria which sometimes live on the skin. When a child has a cut or sore, the bacteria can get down into the deeper layers of skin and cause an infection. Impetigo is highly contagious.
Is impetigo serious?
Impetigo is generally not serious and clears up on its own in two to three weeks. But, if large areas of skin become infected, impetigo can become severe. Severe impetigo can cause the sores to abscess. Impetigo can be dangerous for newborns.
Can I prevent impetigo?
Impetigo is best prevented through thorough and frequent hand washing. If your child has impetigo, you can help prevent the spread to other children by keeping her away from others until she is no longer contagious – about a day or two after she begins antibiotic treatment. Keep her sores clean and covered. Your child can get impetigo from other children or from sharing toys with infected children.
How Do I know if my child has impetigo?
The incubation period for impetigo is about four days. In addition to a general feeling of being unwell, your child may have the following symptoms:
- Itchy, red patches on the skin
- Blisters around the nose and mouth
- More serious infections may cause fever and swollen glands.
- Once the blisters form, they pop and discharge a sticky, yellow fluid. Once the blisters crust over and dry out, the skin will heal completely in a few days.
How do I treat impetigo?
Wash your child’s sores four times a day with an antibiotic soap and pat the sores dry. Cover the sores with a waterproof dressing. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic cream or ointment for you to use. Use paracetamol for fever.
Should I call the doctor?
Call the doctor if your baby shows signs of impetigo. Because of her reduced immunity, infections may be difficult to control and may need to be treated. You should also call the doctor if your child does not appear to be getting better or if her impetigo spreads or is getting worse even with antibiotic treatment.
What you need to know about impetigo
- Impetigo is caused by Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria.
- Impetigo is often called “school sores” because many school age children catch it.
- Impetigo is highly contagious.
- Impetigo can be treated with antibiotics.
Find more relevant articles and information about impetigo
- Find out more about bacterial infections
- Learn more about staph infections
- Learn more about streptococcal infections
- Learn more about chicken pox
- Read how to teach your child good hygiene practices