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

Is impetigo contagious?

Impetigo is contagious, primarily from direct contact with someone who has it, but sometimes from towels, toys, clothing, or household items. After starting in one location, impetigo often spreads to other parts of the body. This is particularly common with impetigo in children. There may be mini epidemics in day-care centers. Bacteria that cause impetigo may enter through a break in the skin, such as that which comes from cuts and scrapes. A common toddler impetigo experience is the development of impetigo at the nasal openings inflamed by the prominent nasal drainage associated with a cold. In this situation, skin integrity is often disrupted by the continuous covering of purulent nasal discharge. Adults often develop impetigo from close contact with infected children. Heat, humidity, and the presence of eczema predispose a person to developing impetigo. Recurrent impetigo infections may be associated with staph or strep bacteria residing in the nose and spreading from to other parts of the skin.

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.Getty Images/Hemera

2.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.

3.iStock

4.Getty Images/Hemera

5.iStock

6.Getty Images/PhotoAlto

7.Getty Images/Hemera

8.Getty Images/Hemera

9.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.

10.iStock

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Impetigo - Length Symptoms Lasted

    How long did the symptoms of your impetigo last? Was there anything in particular that helped with pain/symptom relief?

    Post View 50 Comments
  • Impetigo - Treatment

    What was the treatment for your impetigo?

    Post View 27 Comments
  • Impetigo - Causes

    If known, what caused impetigo in you or your child?

    Post View 6 Comments
  • Impetigo - Contagious Setting

    Did someone in your household catch impetigo from a highly contagious setting? Share your experience.

    Post View 8 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors