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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Skin Disorders Impetigo


Impetigo is a contagious skin infection which produces blisters or sores on the face, neck, hands and diaper area. It is the most common skin infections seen in children.


Impetigo is caused by one of two bacteria like staphylococcus aureus or group A streptococcus. It is usually seen in preschool and school age children. The children with eczema, poison ivy and insect bites are more prone to impetigo. Impetigo is contagious and can spread to anyone who comes in contact with infected skin or other objects of infected persons like clothing, towels and bed linens which is in contact by the infected person.

Good hygiene can help to prevent impetigo, which often develops when there is sore or rash which is scratches repetitively. It is treated with either antibiotic cream or medication taken by mouth.


Types of impetigo

Bullous impetigo: It is characterized by large blisters.

Non bullous impetigo: It is characterized by crusted impetigo. It is the most common type of impetigo. It is causes by staphylococcus aureus and by infection with group A streptococcus. It begins as tiny blisters. The blisters eventually burst and leave small wet patches of red skin which discharges fluids. Later a tan or yellowish brown crust covers the affected area making it look like it has been coated with honey or brown sugar.

Symptoms of impetigo

  • Red, tender rash
  • Honey colored crusts
  • Itching
  • Poorly healing wound
  • Fever
  • Generalized weakness.

Treatment of impetigo

Impetigo is usually treated with antibiotic ointment. For severe infections systemic antibiotics are given. The lesions should be washed with clean water and soap every day. The crusts are soaked in warm soapy water to remove the layers of crust. The common types of antibiotics taken are penicillin, erythromycin, clarythromycin, Azithromycin.

Complications of impetigo

  • Post streptococcal glomerulonephritis
  • Meningitis
  • Sepsis
  • Ecthyma
  • Erysipelas
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Septic arthritis
  • Pneumonia
  • Lymphadenitis

Prevention of impetigo

  • Avoid contact with the infected individual.
  • Wounds should be kept clean by washing with antibacterial soap and water.
  • Hands should be washed after contacting lesions of infected patients.
  • Avoid contact with the infected persons clothing, towels.