Impetigo

  • Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideBacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments

Bacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments

What are the types of impetigo? What are impetigo symptoms and signs? What does impetigo look like?

There are two forms of impetigo:

  • Nonbullous impetigo: This is the more common form, caused by both staph and strep bacteria. This form initially presents as small red papules similar to insect bites. These lesions rapidly evolve to small blisters and then to pustules that finally scab over with a characteristic honey-colored crust. This entire process usually takes about one week. These lesions often start around the nose and on the face, but less frequently they may also affect the arms and legs. At times, there may be non-tender but swollen lymph nodes (glands) nearby.
  • Bullous impetigo: This form of impetigo is caused only by staph bacteria. These bacteria produce a toxin that reduces cell-to-cell stickiness (adhesion) causing separation between the top skin layer (epidermis) and the lower layer (dermis). This leads to the formation of a blister. (The medical term for blister is bulla.) Bullae can appear in various skin areas, especially the buttocks and trunk. These blisters are fragile and contain a clear yellow-colored fluid. The bullae are delicate and often break and leave red, raw skin with a ragged edge. A dark crust will commonly develop during the final stages of development. With healing, this crust will resolve. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 2/22/2016
References
REFERENCES:

American Academy of Pediatrics. In: Pickering, L.K., C.J. Baker, D.W. Kimberlin, S.S. Long, eds. Red Book: 2012 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012.

Baddour, Larry M. "Impetigo." UptoDate.com. Sept. 2010.

IMAGES:

1. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology Klaus Wolff, Richard Allen Johnson, Dick Suurmond Copyright 2005, 2001, 1997, 1993 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights reserved.

2. iStock

3. Color Atlas of Pediatric Dermatology Samuel Weinberg, Neil S. Prose, Leonard Kristal Copyright 2008, 1998, 1990, 1975 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights reserved.

4. iStock

5. iStock

6. Getty Images/PhotoAlto

7. Getty Images/Hemera

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