What Are the Basics of Impetigo?

What is impetigo?

Impetigo is a contagious, bacterial infection that involves the superficial skin. It is more common in children (especially 2 to 5 years old) than in adults.

It is caused by strains of both Staphylococcus aureus (staph) and Streptococcus pyogenes (strep).

What are the signs and symptoms of impetigo?

There are two types of impetigo: non-bullous and bullous impetigo.

1. Non-bullous impetigo

  • Red, itchy sore near the nose or mouth
  • Honey-colored scab
  • Red mark
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Skin ulcers with redness and scarring

Ecthyma (non-bullous form of impetigo)

  • Produces fluid- or pus-filled sores with redness of skin.
  • Becomes ulcers that penetrate deeper into the dermis
  • Form hard, thick, gray-yellow scabs
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the affected area

2. Bullous impetigo

  • Painless, fluid-filled blisters on the arms, legs and trunk
  • Red and itchy (not sore) skin
  • Yellow scabs

What are the causes of impetigo?

According to Wikipedia, impetigo is primarily caused by Staphylococcus aureus, and sometimes by Streptococcus pyogenes. Both bullous and non-bullous are primarily caused by S. aureus, with Streptococcus also commonly being involved in the non-bullous form.

Factors that increase the risk of impetigo include:

  • Age
  • Crowded conditions
  • Warm, humid weather
  • Certain sports
  • Broken skin

What are the treatment options for impetigo?

Once the infection occurs, prompt attention and treatment will keep it under control and prevent it from spreading.

Impetigo is typically treated with an antibiotic ointment or cream that can be applied directly to the sores.

If the condition becomes severe, it is recommended to take antibiotic drugs by mouth.

Be sure to finish the entire course of medication even if the sores are healed.

It will help prevent the infection from recurring and reduce the risk of forming antibiotic resistance.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.