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What's the treatment available to cure impetigo?

Impetigo usually is treated with antibiotics, either in the form of pills or an injection. A topical skin cream such as mupirocin (Bactroban) also may be prescribed. The area around the blisters should be washed with soap and water, and the scabs should be washed away with water and an antiseptic solution such as chlorhexidine (Peridex). Then, the area should be

dried. Washing away the scabs allows topical medications to reach the infection more effectively. Covering the area with gauze and tape or a loose plastic bandage can help to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to other parts of the body.

The treatment involves washing with soap and water and letting the impetigo dry in the air. Many GPs choose to treat impetigo with bactericidal ointment, such as fusidic acid or mupirocin, but in more severe cases oral antibiotics, such as flucloxacillin or erythromycin are necessary. It is important to dissolve the scabs with ointment because the bacteria that cause the disease live underneath them.

Oral antibiotics that are given for 7 to 10 days will generally clear up impetigo. These antibiotics include derivatives of penicillin, erythromycin, and cephalexin. A prescription strength topical antibiotic, such as mupirocin (Bactroban), is also very safe and effective. Its use often makes oral treatment unnecessary. Over-the-counter topical antibiotics like bacitracin or Neosporin (which contains bacitracin) do not seem to be much more effective than applying petroleum jelly or nothing at all. When they do seem to work, it is often because the condition was not infected to begin with.

More information on impetigo

What is impetigo? - Impetigo is a skin infection caused by Streptococcus (strep) and Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria. Impetigo usually appears around the nose and mouth.
What are the symptoms of impetigo? - Impetigo has two general forms: ordinary impetigo and bullous impetigo. Impetigo causes small bumps or blisters that burst.
What causes impetigo? - Impetigo can be caused by the Staphylococcus aureus (staph) or group A Streptococci (strep) bacteria. Epidemic impetigo can be caused by staph or strep bacteria.
What's the treatment for impetigo? - Impetigo usually is treated with antibiotics. The treatment involves washing with soap and water and letting the impetigo dry in the air.
How to prevent impetigo? - To help prevent impetigo, take a bath or shower every day, and always keep your skin clean. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005