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Impetigo

What is Impetigo?

Impetigo is a skin infection. Impetigo usually affects preschool- and school-age children. The infection often occurs during the summer months. Impetigo may affect skin anywhere on the body. However it usually occurs in the area around the nose and mouth.

What causes Impetigo?

Impetigo is usually caused by one of two bacteria: Group A streptococcus or Staphylococcus aureus.

Symptoms of Impetigo

The most common symptoms of impetigo are: blisters that may burst, ooze fluid, and develop a honey-colored crust. The blisters may also itch.

Impetigo caused by Group A streptococcus

When impetigo is caused by Group A streptococcus, it begins as tiny blisters. The blisters eventually burst to reveal small wet patches of red skin that may release fluid. Gradually, a tan or yellowish-brown crust covers the affected area, making it look like it has been coated with honey or brown sugar.

Impetigo caused by Staphylococcus

Impetigo that is caused by Staphylococcus aureus may cause larger fluid-containing blisters that first appear clear, then cloudy. The blisters are more likely to stay intact longer on the skin without bursting.

How is Impetigo spread?

Impetigo can be spread throughout the body by scratching. Impetigo can be spread from one person to another through clothing, towels, and bed linens that have touched the person's infected skin.

Is Impetigo Contagious?

Yes. Impetigo is contagious. Children can spread impetigo from one area of the body to another when they touch themselves with fingers that have been in contact with scratched, infected skin.

How is Impetigo Treated?

The most common treatment is an antibiotic ointment. Your doctor will prescribe this for you.

How long does Impetigo Last?

Once and antibiotic treatment is given, healing begins within 2 to 3 days.

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