Impetigo, an Infectious Disease in Children
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Impetigo, an Infectious Disease in Children

Published on Aug 24, 2014 and last reviewed on Sep 23, 2022   -  2 min read


Impetigo, one of the most common skin infections among kids usually produces blisters or sores on the face, neck, hands, and diaper area.

Impetigo, an Infectious Disease in Children

Impetigo is the most common skin infection in children throughout the world.

Bacteria mainly enters through break in the skin, which may allow bacteria to invade the skin.

After invasion bacteria multiply in deep layers of the skin and leads to blister formation.

There are two classic forms of impetigo, nonbullous and bullous types.

Organisms Causing Impetigo

The organisms causing impetigo are bacteria namely staphylococcus aureus and group A beta hemolytic streptococci.

Nonbullous type

  • This is caused by staphylococcus.
  • Trauma is the most common predisposing factor.
  • Lesions preceding impetigo are abrasions, insect bites, chickenpox, scabies, burns, etc.
  • Lesions are mainly vesicles or pustules which develop honey colored crusting.
  • The lesions may spread to other parts of the body.
  • Other associated features are erythema (redness), pruritus (itching), pain, and adenopathy (enlargement of glands).

Bullous type

  • Mainly occurs in infants and children.
  • Flaccid transparent bullae (blister like fluid filled lesions) occurs over the face, trunk, extremities and abdomen.
  • Impetigo is usually diagnosed clinically after thorough history and examination.

How to Treat Impetigo?

  • You should take your child immediately to the doctor as soon as you notice any itchy rash.
  • For localised lesions, topical antibiotics like Mupirocin should be given.
  • For widespread lesions, oral antibiotics such as Amoxicillin should be given.
  • Emergency treatment is rarely needed.

Home Care for Impetigo

  • You should clean the afffected area with soap and water.
  • Do not scratch or pick the fluid filled lesions.
  • As the lesions are contagious, use separate clothes for the child.
  • In case of adults, do not shave around the infected areas as it may spread the infection.
  • Keep the skin clean and dry and avoid further injury.

How to Prevent Impetigo?

Since impetigo is contagious, avoid contact with the person having active impetigo.


  • Complications rarely occur in impetigo.
  • But one serious complication is glomerulonephritis (renal disease affecting the kidneys).
  • If someone encounters rise in blood pressure, facial swelling or blood in urine, immediate attention is required.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Can Cause Impetigo?

Impetigo is an infection of the skin which is caused by bacteria. The two bacteria causing this infection are Staphylococcus aureus and group A beta Hemolytic Streptococci. These bacteria can quickly enter the broken skin, multiply in the skin's deeper layers, and form blisters. Bacteria can spread by contact from a person with an active infection or by sharing the bedding, towels, clothes, and other objects of the infected person.


How Does Impetigo Look Like When It Begins?

The Impetigo initially begins to form a red, itchy sore, which develops into a blister. This blister will ooze and burst and as they heal, they will form a yellowish or honey-colored crusty scab over the sore.


How to Treat Impetigo?

Impetigo is treated by antibiotics, either topical antibiotics or oral antibiotics. Topical antibiotics like Retapamulin and Mupirocin can be rubbed onto the sores if there are few sores, and oral antibiotics are prescribed in case of multiple sores.


Can Impetigo Be Caused Due to Poor Hygiene?

The chances of getting Impetigo can be increased by factors like poor hygiene, such as dirty fingernails or unwashed hands, touching the infected person, or things that belong to them (for example, using their towel, bed, sheets, etc.).


What Is the Quickest Home Remedy for Impetigo?

Application of raw honey or Manuka honey directly on the sores, leaving it for 20 minutes, and then washing it with warm water is the quickest home remedy for impetigo.


How Long is Impetigo Contagious?

Contagious means a person can spread the disease to others by any means of contact. Impetigo can be contagious until 48 hours after the treatment or till the sores stop blistering and crusting. Impetigo usually does not show any symptoms until 10 days after the initial exposure to the bacteria, so it can quickly spread to others.


What Helps Impetigo to Heal Faster?

Antibiotics are the effective treatment of impetigo. When combined with home remedies like cleaning and soaking the sores three to four times a day and applying the prescribed antibiotic ointment until the sore heals, can make the treatment more effective and promotes healing faster.


Can Neosporin Cure Impetigo?

Neosporin, a topical antibiotic ointment, is not very effective in curing impetigo when compared to Mupirocin, another topical antibiotic that is used for skin infections.


Can Vinegar Cure Impetigo?

Soaking a clean cloth into the mixture of half cup of vinegar with a quarter cup of lukewarm water and placing it on the sores by pressing the cloth on the crusts for about 10 to 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day is a very effective treatment. These crusts can then be wiped off gently and smeared with a layer of prescription topical antibiotic ointment. Therefore vinegar can help to cure impetigo.


How to Stop the Spread of Impetigo?

The methods to stop the spread of impetigo are:
- Wash your hands regularly after using the toilet, treating your skin and whenever they are dirty.
- Avoid sharing the items from the infected person like towels, bedsheets, and toys.
- Wash the objects of the infected person daily.
- Cut off the nails of the infected child to avoid spread by scratching.
- Keep the child at home until the physician says that she is not contagious.
- Wash the sores with mild soap, warm water, and then cover them with gauze.
- Wash the cuts, insect bites, scrapes, and other wounds immediately after it has happened.
- Wear gloves while applying ointment to the sores.


Can Impetigo Go off on Its Own?

Impetigo can go off on its own within a few days to weeks without any antibiotics. But it is essential to keep it clean by washing it with soap and water regularly and stop scratching the sore.


Is Impetigo a Viral or Bacterial Infection?

Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria and not viral. Bacteria that cause impetigo are Staphylococcus aureus and group A beta-hemolytic Streptococci. It is more widespread in children than adults.

Last reviewed at:
23 Sep 2022  -  2 min read




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