What is impetigo?

Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the uppermost layers of the skin. It is most commonly caused by streptococcal or staphylococcal bacteria. Impetigo generally occurs when these bacteria enter the top layers of the skin through an abrasion or lesion and form an infection. While impetigo is most common in young children between the ages 2-5, primarily children living in unsanitary conditions, it is possible to develop impetigo as an adult.

Impetigo can develop anywhere on the body, although it is most common on the extremities. It spreads easily through fluids that leak from blisters that form as part of the disease. Affected individuals usually have more than one lesion. Many people who have impetigo will develop a rash that is associated with the disease. Symptoms of impetigo usually begin within one to three days after infection.

Impetigo can develop anywhere on the body, although it is most common on the extremities. It spreads easily through fluids that leak from blisters that form as part of the disease. Many people who have impetigo will develop a rash that is associated with the disease. Symptoms of impetigo usually begin within one to three days after infection.

Impetigo is fairly easily treated with topical or oral antibiotics. However, it may recur even after successful treatment, particularly in young patients.

Since the development of impetigo is an indication of a bacterial infection, you should seek prompt medical care if you experience any of the symptoms of impetigo, such as sores that contain pus; redness, warmth, or swelling; or an itchy rash. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, or high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), as these could be signs of a life-threatening condition.


SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of impetigo?

Symptoms of impetigo include blisters that may leak fluid, as well as itching and rash. These symptoms are relatively easy to spot and can aid your health care provider in identifying the disease and preparing an appropriate treatment plan.

Common symptoms of impetigo

You may experience impetigo symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times any of these symptoms can ... Read more about impetigosymptoms

CAUSES

What causes impetigo?

Impetigo is caused by the infiltration of bacteria, usually Streptococcus or Staphylococcus, into the upper layers of your skin. These bacteria typically enter the skin through a lesion or abrasion, although you can develop impetigo through other kinds of injuries. Other common ways that the bacteria enter the skin include bite marks left by animals, insects, or other people.

Impe... Read more about impetigocauses

TREATMENTS

How is impetigo treated?

Since impetigo is caused by a bacterial infection, it is treated through the use of antibiotics. There has been a significant rise in the number of community-based (outside of the hospital) antibiotic resistant skin infections. Laboratory culture testing will help determine the best antibiotic options. These antibiotics may be prescribed by a health care provider, and they may be administe... Read more about impetigotreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases


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