Impetigo: What is it and is it Contagious?

impetigo

Impetigo is a common bacterial skin infection that causes yellow crusting, red sores, and fluid-filled blisters usually on the face, neck, and hands. It is often seen in children and athletes (especially in contact sports), or in people with skin conditions that cause breaks in the skin. Impetigo is very contagious and can spread quickly on the skin.

Impetigo is a common bacterial skin infection that causes yellow crusting, red sores, and fluid-filled blisters usually on the face, neck, and hands. It is often seen in children and athletes (especially in contact sports), or in people with skin conditions that cause breaks in the skin. Impetigo is contagious and can spread quickly on the skin.

Impetigo may also be commonly known as school sores. Most people get impetigo through skin-to-skin contact with someone who has it. Children aged 2 to 5 years old are most likely to get impetigo, however, even older children and adults can get it. If your child is involved in contact sports, it may be a common skin condition you see. Children and athletes like wrestlers, football players, and even swimmers, often get it through these activities.

However, it is also possible to get impetigo by using an item that has the bacteria that causes impetigo. For instance, you can get it from an infected towel or sports equipment. For this reason, you may want to double check that your child’s sports equipment is always cleaned and that they have a fresh towel of their own daily. Wearing infected clothing is another way to get impetigo.

Most cases of impetigo are caused are through the bacteria staph and strep. These bacteria cause impetigo by getting into the body through a cut, scratch, or bug bite. A rash, sore, or burn can also be an entry point for the bacteria. And finally, a child may get impetigo by scratching itchy eczema or chickenpox. The scratching breaks the skin, which allows the bacteria to easily get inside.

There are two types of impetigo, and what you or your child sees and feels differs depending on the type. The first type is non-bullous impetigo. This is the most common type, which goes through many stages. It starts with one or more itchy sores which can then lead to swollen glands and crusting of the sores.

The second type is bullous impetigo, which causes fluid-filled blisters that contain a cloudy or yellow fluid. Those blisters can then burst and drain and crusty sores form, but the skin can usually heal without scarring.

Treatment is important because ecthyma can develop when impetigo goes untreated. This infection goes deeper into the skin and is more serious. When a person has ecthyma, there are usually painful blisters that turn into deep, open sores, and thick crusts that develop.

It’s a lot to take in, right? No need to worry too much. While highly contagious, impetigo is rarely serious. Most of the time it clears on its own in a few weeks. However, treatment is highly recommended. By treating it, you reduce your risk of developing complications and spreading it to others. Without treatment, the infection can cause new sores or blisters to develop.

The good news is that an antibiotic usually cures impetigo. It may be treated with antibacterial creams or pills depending on severity, to prevent deeper infections. Dermatologists also recommend tips to prevent spreading the infection, such as avoiding direct skin-to-skin contact with others, resisting the urge to scratch the sores, and keeping the sores cleaned.

Aside from impetigo, pediatric dermatologists are trained to diagnose and manage a variety of skin conditions in infants and children. At Vujevich Dermatology Associates, our team provides treatment for pediatric skin conditions including eczema, keratosis pillaris, impetigo, and more. Interested in learning more? Visit our Pediatric Skin Conditions page to read more about the common skin conditions in kids that we treat.

Vujevich Dermatology Associates offers medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology from some of the most highly trained physicians and clinicians in the greater Pittsburgh area.  You can reach our team at 412-429-2570 or visit our contact page to see all of our locations. You can also follow us on Facebook to see what’s new in the world of dermatology.

 

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