Symptoms and Treatments for Impetigo | Dermatology


What Is impetigo?

Impetigo is a typical and profoundly infectious skin contamination that essentially influences babies and children. Impetigo usually appears as red sores on the face, especially around the child’s nose and mouth, and on the hands and feet. Sores burst and form honey-colored crusts.

Antibiotic treatment is generally recommended to help prevent spreading impetigo to others. It’s important to keep your child home from school or daycare until he is no longer contagious – usually, 24 hours after starting antibiotic treatment.

Other names

  • School Sores
  • Impetigo contagiosa

What are the types of impetigo?

There are three types of impetigo that depend on the bacteria that cause them and the sores they form. Each species goes through a series of stages.


Non-bullous impetigo is mainly caused by Staphylococcus aureus. It is the most common form of impetigo, and it causes an estimated 70 percent of the cases as a reliable source.

It goes through the following stages:

  • It usually starts with red, itchy sores around the mouth and nose
  • The sores open, leaving the red, irritated skin around them
  • A yellow-brown crust is formed
  • When the scales heal, red spots appear that fade and leave no scars


Bullous impetigo is almost always caused by the bacteria staphylococcus aureus.

  • They are usually blisters or larger bubbles filled with a clear liquid that may become darker and cloudy. Pimples begin on the unbroken skin and are not surrounded by red areas.
  • The blisters become lame and clear, then open.
  • A yellow, crusty sore forms over the area where the blisters have split open.
  • Pimples usually do not leave scars when they heal.


This more serious infection is less common. Sometimes when impetigo is not treated, the ecthyma penetrates deeper into the skin than other forms of impetigo and is more severe.

  • The infection forms painful blisters on the skin of the buttocks, thighs, legs, ankles, and feet.
  • Blisters turn into pus-filled sores with a thicker crust.
  • Often, the skin around the sores will turn red.
  • Ecthyma sores heal slowly and may leave scars after they heal.

What are the causes of impetigo?

Impetigo is an infection caused by strains of staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria. These bacteria can enter your body through an incision in the skin from a cut, scratch, insect bite, or rash. Then they can conquer and colonize. The condition can be contagious. You can catch these bacteria if you touch the sores of a person with impetigo or touch things such as the towels, clothing, or sheets that the person used.

However, these bacteria are also common in our environment, and most people who come into contact with them will not necessarily develop impetigo. Usually, some people carry staph bacteria inside their noses. They may become infected if the bacteria spread to their skin.

Adults and children are at higher risk for impetigo if they:

  • Lives in a warm and humid climate
  • You have diabetes
  • They are undergoing dialysis
  • They have a weak immune system, such as HIV
  • You have skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis
  • You have a sunburn or other burns
  • You have an infection that causes itching, such as lice, scabies, herpes simplex, or chickenpox
  • Insect bites
  • Playing sports

What symptoms may show in patients?

Impetigo sores can appear anywhere on the body, but children tend to get them on their faces sometimes they appear on their arms or legs. Affected areas range from a dime to a quarter of the size. It begins as small blisters that break down and reveal moist red skin. After a few days, it is covered with a golden grainy crust that gradually spreads at the edges.

In severe cases, the infection invades a deeper layer of skin and turns into a form of impetigo called ecthyma. When this happens, your baby will develop pus-filled growths with a crust that is much darker and thicker than normal impetigo.

Ecthyma can be very itchy. If your child scratches the irritated area, it may cause the infection to spread rapidly. If not treated, the sores may cause permanent scarring and changes in skin color. A rare complication of impetigo is an acute kidney disease called post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis.

How is impetigo diagnosed?

You may be diagnosed by a general health care provider or a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a health care provider who specializes in diseases of the skin. Your health care provider will ask about your medical history, symptoms, and whether you have been in contact with anyone with impetigo.

You will also have a physical examination, including a thorough examination of your skin. Your healthcare provider will need to ensure that your symptoms are not caused by other skin problems that have similar symptoms. He or she may take a sample of pus from a blister to check for bacteria.

How to treat impetigo?

Treatment for impetigo intends to accelerate mending, improve the presence of the skin, and forestall complexities and the spread of infection. The sort of treatment relies upon the kind of impetigo and the seriousness of manifestations.

If the infection is mild, the doctor may only recommend keeping the skin clean. Severe infections may need to be treated with antibiotics.

Topical antibiotics

Topical antibiotics are placed directly on the skin. The doctor may prescribe a mupirocin ointment, such as Bactroban. Before applying the ointment, the peels must be gently removed so that the antibiotic can penetrate the skin.

It is important to wash the affected areas of the skin with warm water and soap before applying a topical antibiotic. On the off chance that conceivable, latex gloves ought to be utilized while applying the cream. Hands should be washed well afterward. The patient should respond to treatment within 7 days.

Oral antibiotics

These medications are prescribed when impetigo is more widespread or if the patient has not responded to topical antibiotics. The type of antibiotic depends on the severity of the infection, as well as other factors, including the patient’s medical condition and whether or not they have any allergies.

The course of antibiotics usually lasts about 7 days. It is important to complete the course, even if symptoms appear early. A child can return to school 24 hours after starting antibiotic treatment, or when the sores have crusted and healed.

Natural remedies

Tea tree oil, olive oil, garlic, coconut oil, and manuka honey have been said to relieve symptoms of impetigo, but more evidence is needed to confirm this.


Soft tissue infection

The bacteria that cause impetigo can become invasive, leading to cellulitis and lymphangitis. Subsequent bacteremia may result in osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, or pneumonia.

Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome

In infants younger than six years of age or adults with renal insufficiency, localized bullous impetigo due to specific serotypes of staphylococcus can lead to a child with generalized staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS). Superficial peeling and then denudation of the thin skin on the face, in the folds, and elsewhere is the result of peeling / epidermal spreading, not a direct skin infection. No scars.

Toxic shock syndrome

Poisonous stun disorder is uncommon and infrequently went before by impetigo. It causes fever, diffuse erythema, and then a scaly rash, hypotension, and involvement of other organs.

Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis

Rarely, group A streptococcal infection may lead to acute post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis 3 to 6 weeks after skin infection. It is related to anti-DNase B and anti-streptolysin O (ASO) antibodies.

Rheumatic fever

Rarely, group A streptococcal skin infections have been linked to cases of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. This is thought to be caused by group A streptococcus strains normally found on the skin into the throat (the most common site of infection associated with rheumatic fever).

How to prevent impetigo?

Since impetigo is a highly contagious condition, it is important to take precautions to reduce the risk of the infection spreading.

Stopping the infection from spreading

The advice below can help prevent the infection from spreading to other people or to other areas of the body:

  • Stay away from work, school, nursery, or playgroups until the sores are dry, crusted, or crusted, or for up to 48 hours after starting treatment.
  • Do not share flannels, sheets, or towels with anyone who has impetigo, and wash them at a high temperature after use.
  • Wash the sores with soap and water, and cover them with a gauze pad or clothing if possible.
  • Avoid touching the sores or allowing others to touch them whenever possible.
  • Do not rub the affected areas. It may help ensure that your or your child’s nails are kept clean and short to reduce the risk of further damage from scratching.
  • Avoid contact with newborns, preparing food, doing contact sports, or going to the gym until the risk of infection has passed (when the rash has crusted off, or at least 48 hours after antibiotic treatment).
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after touching the affected skin.
  • Washable toys should also be washed. Wipe non-washable soft toys well with a cloth that has been squeezed in detergent and warm water and allowed to dry completely.

If you think the infection has spread to another person, be sure to see it by a general practitioner as soon as possible.

Preventing re-infection

To reduce the risk of impetigo returning, be sure to keep any cuts, scrapes, or bites clean, and make sure that any condition that causes cracked skin, such as eczema, is treated promptly.

If you frequently get impetigo, your doctor may suggest taking a swab around your nose to see if you are carrying staph bacteria inside your nose. This bacteria can survive in some people’s noses without causing problems, although it may lead to impetigo if it affects the nearby broken skin.

If you are found to be carrying these bacteria, you may be prescribed an antiseptic nasal cream several times a day for five to 10 days in an effort to remove the bacteria and reduce the chances of recurring impetigo.

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