Q:

How long does impetigo last?

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Quick Answer

When impetigo is not treated, it can resolve on its own within 2 to 3 weeks, states Mayo Clinic. When proper treatment is received for this skin infection, the condition lasts a shorter time period, and the skin should clear up in about a week, according to the Children's Health Network.

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Full Answer

This bacterial skin infection is considered contagious, and it is caused by either the Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. Although impetigo can affect anyone, it more commonly affects young children. The condition causes sores that may fill with pus and then break open to manifest on the face, states the University of Texas at Austin's University Health Services. The infection can be spread to other body regions through scratching any infected sores.

A child is contagious until he receives treatment, which entails taking oral antibiotics and using an antibiotic ointment. After 24 hours of taking the antibiotics, the child's sores are not considered contagious any more. With treatment, the sores should heal in about 5 days. Most signs of the sores should disappear completely in about 1 to 2 weeks, but some people may have marks that remain for a few months after the impetigo infection has resolved, reports the Children's Health Network. With treatment, impetigo should go away, but a doctor should be contacted if there is a fever or healing of the sores does not occur.

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