Impetigo is a skin infection caused by one or both of the following bacteria: group A Streptococcus and Staphylococcus aureus. This page focuses on impetigo caused by group A Streptococcus group A strep. In addition to impetigo, group A strep cause many other types of infections. When group A strep infects the skin, it causes sores. The bacteria can spread to others if someone touches those sores or comes into contact with fluid from the sores. Impetigo starts as a red, itchy sore. In general, impetigo is a mild infection that can occur anywhere on the body.
It most often affects exposed skin, such as around the nose and mouth or on the arms or legs. Symptoms include red, itchy sores that break open and leak a clear fluid or pus for a few days. Doctors typically diagnose impetigo by looking at the sores physical examination. Lab tests are not needed. Impetigo is treated with antibiotics that are either rubbed onto the sores topical antibiotics or taken by mouth oral antibiotics. A doctor might recommend a topical ointment, such as mupirocin or retapamulin, for only a few sores.
Oral antibiotics can be used when there are more sores. Very rarely, kidney problems post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis can be a complication of impetigo. If someone has this complication, it usually starts one to two weeks after the skin sores go away. Learn about post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis. People can get impetigo more than once. Having impetigo does not protect someone from getting it again in the future. While there is no vaccine to prevent impetigo, there are things people can do to protect themselves and others.
Keep sores caused by impetigo covered in order to help prevent spreading group A strep to others. If you have scabies, treating that infection will also help prevent impetigo. Appropriate personal hygiene and frequent body and hair washing with soap and clean, running water is important to help prevent impetigo.
The best way to keep from getting or spreading group A strep is to wash your hands often. This is especially important after coughing or sneezing. To prevent group A strep infections, you should:. You should wash the clothes, linens, and towels of anyone who has impetigo every day.
These items should not be shared with anyone else. After they have been washed, these items are safe for others to use. Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options Skip directly to A-Z link. March Impetigo is a common, superficial, highly contagious bacterial skin infection characterised by pustules and honey-coloured crusted erosions.
It affects the superficial layers of the epidermis and is typically caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes Group A beta — haemolytic streptococci GABHS. Ecthyma is a deep form of impetigo causing deeper erosions of the skin into the dermis. Honey-coloured crusts on the chin in impetigo.
Impetigo is most common in young children but can occur at any age. It is usually transmitted through direct contact. Risk factors which may predispose an individual to impetigo include:. Impetigo is caused by Staphylococcus aureus , and less commonly Streptococcus pyogenes. Crusted weepy lesions in facial impetigo. The initial erythematous macule in non-bullous impetigo may be more difficult to see on darker skin tones. Impetigo is usually self-limiting without serious complications.
Without treatment, impetigo usually heals in 2—3 weeks; with treatment lesions resolve within 10 days. Postinflammatory hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation may occur but scarring is uncommon. Books about skin diseases Books about the skin Dermatology Made Easy book. DermNet NZ does not provide an online consultation service. If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice. Impetigo — codes and concepts open. School sores, Impetigo contagiosa.
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