impetigoWhat Is Impetigo?

Impetigo is a common skin infection that is most often found in children under 5 years old, but adults can get it too. It is usually characterized by red sores or blisters that break, ooze for a couple of days, and form a honey-colored crust. These sores most often appear around the nose and mouth but can sometimes also be found on other areas of the face, arms, and legs. They can be itchy or even mildly painful.The most common form of the infection is called nonbullous impetigo, but there are other, less common types as well. These include bullous impetigo, characterized by larger blisters filled with clear fluid, and ecthyma, which is more serious and appears as deeper sores that are painful, pus-filled, and may have more of a purple tint.

What Causes Impetigo?

Impetigo is a bacterial infection caused by the staphylococcal (staph) bacteria or the streptococcal (strep) bacteria. Because of this, it is highly contagious and spreads quickly among children in daycare, school, or contact sports. Impetigo usually starts when bacteria get into a cut, scratch, or other breaks in the skin. Certain factors increase the risk of getting it, including warm, humid climates, diabetes or compromised immune systems, skin ailments like eczema or psoriasis, itchy infections such as lice or chickenpox, and insect bites. 


If you think your child has impetigo, contact their doctor right away to begin antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics may be given in the form of a cream or ointment, or if the infection is deeper, they might be taken by mouth. Your child will likely need to stay home for at least 24 hours after beginning antibiotics until they are no longer contagious. The infection should go away within a week or two if treated properly. If left untreated, impetigo can sometimes cause more serious infections, especially when it is caused by staph bacteria. If you have questions about impetigo or other pediatric concerns, or you are looking for new pediatric care for your child, contact New Beginnings Pediatrics online or call us at (540) 739-3623