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What is impetigo?

Impetigo is a skin infection caused by Streptococcus (strep) and Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria. The infection is common in children and occurs when the bacteria gets into scrapes and insect bites. Impetigo often occurs in the summer. Some people think that children get impetigo because they have not been washed properly. However, impetigo does not result

from a lack of cleanliness.

Impetigo is a skin rash that is characterized by a cluster of blisters or red bumps. The blisters may ooze or be covered with a honey-coloured crust. The rash usually appears around the nose, mouth, and parts of the skin not covered by clothes. Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection, usually caused by Group A streptococcus or Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Impetigo is most common in children. However, it sometimes occurs in adults who have other itchy skin conditions, such as eczema. Other conditions that increase your risk of developing impetigo include: chickenpox, reactions to insect bites, burns of the skin and diabetes.

Impetigo usually appears around the nose and mouth. However, it can develop wherever the skin is broken by cuts, scrapes or cold sores, and bacteria can enter. Impetigo most often occurs on exposed areas such as the hands and face. It presents with pustules and round, crusted oozing patches which grow larger day by day. Impetigo may be caught from someone else with impetigo or boils, or appear "out of the blue". It often starts at the site of a minor skin injury such as a graze, an insect bite, or scratched eczema.

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