What is Impetigo?

Impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection that is common in children. It can be caused by Group A Streptococcus (which also causes strep throat) or the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Even though it is most common in kids, anyone can become infected. Let’s learn more about it.

What are the Symptoms of Impetigo?

One to three days after becoming infected with impetigo, signs of infection may begin to appear. Painless sores that itch and look red are usually the first symptoms. They typically appear on the outside of the mouth and nose. These sores soon turn into blisters that open up and release a fluid that can transmit the infection on contact. Days later, cream-colored scabs form. Fortunately, these scabs go away after a while, and they don’t usually leave visible scars.

What Raises the Risk for Impetigo?

Being young increases the risk for this contagious skin condition. Children, ages 2-5 years old, are most commonly affected. Risk increases by being in close community with other children, such as in daycare or elementary school. Even though impetigo is more common in children, anybody can get it. You can get this skin infection any time of the year, but it usually manifests when the weather is warm.

What Should You Do About Impetigo?

Although complications from impetigo are a rare occurrence, see your doctor if you think your child might have it. Antibiotic treatment is recommended to reduce the possibility of complications, to reduce pain, and to minimize family/community spread. As always, you can help prevent spreading this, and other, infections by frequently washing your hands.