Impetigo :: What is impetigo
Impetigo is a skin disorder caused by bacterial infection and characterized by crusting skin lesions. It is a superficial skin infection most common among children age 2-6 years (rare among people not in this age group).
Skin infections are usually caused by different streptococci strains than those that cause strep throat. It can also be caused by Staphylococcus infection.
Scratching may spread the lesions.
The infection is spread by direct contact with lesions or with nasal carriers. The incubation period is 1-3 days. Dried streptococci in the air are not infectious to intact skin.
One or more pimple-like lesions surrounded by reddened skin. Lesions fill with pus, then break down over 4-6 days and form a thick crust. Impetigo is often associated with insect bites, cuts, and other forms of trauma to the skin. Itching is common.
The diagnosis is made based on the typical appearance of the skin lesion.
The treatment goal is to cure the infection and relieve the symptoms.
A mild infection is typically treated with a prescription antibacterial cream such as mupirocin. Oral antibiotics such as erythromycin or dicloxacillin are also frequently prescribed, and result in rapid clearing of the lesions.
Wash the skin several times a day, preferably with an antibacterial soap, to remove crusts and drainage.
Prevent the spread of infection. Use a clean washcloth and towel each time. Do not share towels, clothing, razors, and so on with other family members. Wash the hands thoroughly after touching the skin lesions.
The sores of impetigo heal slowly and seldom scar. The cure rate is extremely high, but they often come back in young children.