Impetigo is a contagious skin infection that often causes red sores on the body. With this condition, the skin usually becomes dry and a crust forms. Sometimes the skin will become itchy, and an infection and sores can develop and spread to other areas of the body. These usually appear on the face, but can surface on any exposed area such as the neck, hands or feet, or even on the nose and mouth.
Although impetigo is often caused by a staphylococcus bacteria, it may also be caused by a streptococcus bacteria as well. A cut or open sore can make it easier to contract, as can sensitive skin or a pre-existing condition. Toddlers 2 to 6 years of age are more at risk to get the disease, as are school-aged children.
Impetigo usually occurs in the summer time, when there is increased heat and more humidity, as bacteria tends to thrive in a warm and moist environment. At this time of the season, there is also more opportunities for insect bites and the spreading of disease. Also, if children are exposed to sports and activities, as they often are more active in the summer, they are more apt to have person-to-person contact and are more at risk. This form of exercise, however, is a healthy one for children.
Poor hygiene and living conditions, as well as a poor diet and lack of basic nutrition, could also be a contributing factor. Children who have a medical condition of anemia (disease where there is a decreased number of red blood cells) or a weakened immune system could be more at risk to developing impetigo.