What is impetigo?

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Impetigo is a prevalent form of skin infection brought by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. In some cases, it is caused by group A streptococcus bacteria.

This skin condition generally affects children between 2-6 years of age but even older children and adults can acquire the condition. If an individual has any form of open wound, the bacteria can get under the skin which result to an infection. It is more common during the warmer months, especially when children play outdoors.


In most cases of impetigo due to the staph bacteria, the symptoms might include reddened skin bordering blisters that are filled with pus or clear liquid.

It is important to note that impetigo is a mild by highly communicable disease with the following symptoms:

  • One or several blisters filled with pus that easily rupture and leave behind raw, reddened skin
  • Rash that often spreads
  • Itchy blisters that contain tan or yellowish fluid that seeps and forms crust
  • Enlarged lymph nodes near the site of infection
  • Skin lesions usually on the nose, lips, ears, legs and arms that can spread to other parts of the body

In most cases of impetigo due to the staph bacteria, the symptoms might include reddened skin bordering blisters that are filled with pus or clear liquid. These blisters are likely to rupture and leak. Once open, there is a shiny, raw area that scabs over with a light brownish or yellowish crust.

It might take up to 3 days for the symptoms to arise once infection occurs. The sores can be quite itchy and if scratched, the infection spreads.

How does it spread?

Impetigo can spread by being exposed to the sores or any mucus/nasal discharge from an infected individual. It can spread by sharing household items such as clothing, towels or other personal products with an infection person.

The condition is contagious until the rash vanishes where the scabs fall out or the individual has finished at least 2 full days of antibiotics.

Management of impetigo

Impetigo is managed with antibiotics either orally or topically. The commonly used topical variant is mupirocin ointment while the oral form include clindamycin, cephalosporins and sulfamethoxazole.

If an individual has been diagnosed with impetigo, some of the treatment measures include:

  • If antibiotics are prescribed, they should be taken as instructed.
  • Carefully wash the skin several times throughout the day using an antibacterial soap to eliminate any crusts and drainage.
  • Avoid touching the rash. If touched accidentally, always wash hands and the exposed area using water and mild soap. If a child has the condition, he/she must be kept away from other children until he/she is treated.

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