Impetigo: The Basics

Impetigo mainly affects children and infants. It is a skin infection that is highly contagious, and typically appears as red sores on the face. The sores may burst and ooze for a few days before turning to a yellow or brownish crust. More serious forms may result in painful fluid or puss filled sores that develop into deep ulcers. Impetigo is usually not a serious matter and should clear up on its own without two to three weeks. However, parents should be aware that impetigo may lead to complications in some cases, so your doctor may choose to treat the condition using antibiotic medications; oral or ointment antibiotics may be used. Roughly 24 hours after beginning antibiotic treatment, the child may no longer be contagious and may return to school. Consult your doctor before sending the child back to school, though.

Two types of bacteria may cause impetigo and may enter the body through a cut or wound, although children may develop impetigo with no noticeable cuts or wounds. Adults may contract the condition as a result of injury to the skin, which is often by another condition known as dermatitis. Exposure to the bacteria that causes this condition occurs when the individual comes into contact with either sores of an infected person, or items that they've touched i.e. toys, clothing, bed sheets, towels, etc. If the infection is mild, the doctor may recommend treating the condition by keeping it clean so that it may heal on its own. In other cases, such as more severe infections, antibiotics may be used.

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