What Is Impetigo?


Quick Answer

Impetigo is a common skin infection that is most prevalent among kids. It causes blisters or sores that appear on a child's face, neck, hands and diaper area, says KidsHealth.

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Children are more likely to develop impetigo if their skin has been irritated by conditions such as eczema, poison ivy, insect bites and cuts, according to KidsHealth. The infection is generally caused by the bacteria staphylococcus aureus or streptococcus pyogenes. It can be diagnosed based on the appearance of the rash, but doctors may need to take a sample of the fluid from the blisters.

There are two types of impetigo: non-bullous and bullous. Non-bollous is the most common form of impetigo, says KidsHealth. It begins as a tiny blister that can burst and leave small wet patches of red skin that can leak fluid. Over time, a yellow, brown or tan crust covers the area. Bullous impetigo releases toxins that cause larger fluid-containing blisters to form. These blisters can appear clear then cloudy and are likely to stay on the skin longer without bursting.

Impetigo can be treated with an antibiotic ointment or an oral medication, reports KidsHealth. Antibiotic pills are typically prescribed if the infection has spread or if the ointment does not provide treatment. Impetigo can be prevented by routinely washing the face and hands. Other injuries to the skin should be kept clean and covered.

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