What is impetigo?
Impetigo is a common and highly contagious bacterial skin infection that affects the top layers of the skin. It can appear anywhere on the body but usually involves the skin of the face, arms, and legs. Impetigo can affect all ages, but it is most common in infants and children. Impetigo is caused by staphylococcal (staph) or streptococcal (strep) bacteria growing in the upper skin layers. It is usually spread from person to person, or from germs on something an infected person has touched (clothing, bedding, towels or other objects). The time from exposure to the germs and start of symptoms is typically 1 to 3 days. A person is contagious when the rash is crusting or oozing pus.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of impetigo include red sores that quickly rupture, ooze for a few days, and then form a yellowish-brown crust; itching; and painless, fluid-filled blisters. Infected areas appear in plaques ranging from dime to quarter size, starting as tiny blisters that break and expose moist, red skin. After a few days the infected area is covered with a grainy, golden crust that gradually spreads at the edges.
What is the treatment?
Impetigo usually clears on its own in two to three weeks, but because impetigo can sometimes lead to complications, it is important to visit a Take Care Health Provider for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Impetigo treatment can speed healing of the sores, improve the skin's appearance and limit the spread of the infection.
If you believe you have a medical emergency, please call 911.