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Impetigo in children

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Impetigo is a common skin infection that primarily affects children, although it can occur in individuals of any age. It is usually caused by bacteria, most commonly Streptococcus pyogenes (group A Streptococcus) and Staphylococcus aureus. Here are key points to understand about impetigo in children:

Types of Impetigo:

  • There are two main types of impetigo:
    • Nonbullous Impetigo: This is the most common form and is characterized by the formation of small, red sores or blisters that burst and ooze fluid, which then forms a honey-colored crust.
    • Bullous Impetigo: This less common form is characterized by larger, fluid-filled blisters that may not rupture as easily as those in nonbullous impetigo.


  • Impetigo is highly contagious and can spread through direct skin-to-skin contact or by touching contaminated items such as towels, clothing, or toys.


  • Common symptoms of impetigo include:
    • Red sores or blisters.
    • Oozing fluid.
    • Formation of a yellowish-brown crust.
    • Itching or discomfort.
  • Impetigo lesions often appear on the face, around the mouth, or on exposed body parts.


  • Impetigo is typically diagnosed based on its characteristic appearance. In some cases, a bacterial culture may be performed to identify the specific bacteria causing the infection.


  • Treatment of impetigo often involves antibiotics, which can be applied topically (as a cream or ointment) or taken orally, depending on the severity and extent of the infection.
  • Good hygiene practices, such as keeping the affected area clean and avoiding scratching, can help prevent the spread of impetigo.
  • It’s important to complete the full course of antibiotics as prescribed.


  • To reduce the risk of impetigo, encourage children to:
    • Wash their hands regularly.
    • Avoid sharing personal items like towels and clothing.
    • Keep their fingernails clean and short to minimize scratching.
    • Cover any open wounds or sores with clean bandages.

Contagious Period:

  • Impetigo is contagious until the sores or blisters have healed and formed a crust, or until 24-48 hours after starting antibiotic treatment.


  • Impetigo is usually a mild and self-limiting infection, but complications can occur, including the spread of the infection to other areas of the body or the development of cellulitis, a deeper skin infection.


  • Some children may experience recurrent episodes of impetigo, especially if they are in close contact with others who have the infection.

Impetigo is a common and treatable skin infection in children. With proper treatment and hygiene measures, most cases of impetigo resolve without complications. If a child has symptoms of impetigo, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice of a physician