Impetigo - Treatment

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What is the treatment for impetigo?

Impetigo is not serious and is very treatable. Mild impetigo can be handled by gentle cleansing, removing crusts, and applying the prescription-strength antibiotic ointment mupirocin (Bactroban). Nonprescription topical antibiotic ointments (such as Neosporin) generally are not effective. More severe or widespread impetigo, especially of bullous impetigo, may require oral antibiotic medication. In recent years, more staph germs have developed resistance to standard antibiotics. Bacterial culture tests can help guide the use of proper oral therapy if needed. Antibiotics which can be helpful include penicillin derivatives (such as amoxicillin and clavulanic acid [Augmentin]) and cephalosporins such as cephalexin (Keflex). If clinical suspicion supported by culture results show other bacteria, such as drug-resistant staph (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA), other antibiotics such as clindamycin or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim or Septra) may be necessary. Treatment is guided by laboratory results (culture and sensitivity tests).

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Sandra, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 21

For impetigo, eczema, boils, bacterial skin problems I have used a diluted bleach bath (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of Clorox bleach) to bath water. Do this 2 or 3 times per week. My brother had crusting, cracking elbows and used a bleach bath twice and it was cured (whereas the prescribed cream did not work). My grandson has had impetigo and boils and though he says he hates the after-smell of bleach (temporary) the bleach bath worked almost immediately while the prescribed creams did not. It is not harmful when used for bacterial skin problems. Not sure why health/medical professionals won't give it a try. It works.

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Comment from: bull8807, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 31

I am an adult and this is my first bout of impetigo. I work in a medical clinic so most likely I picked it up there; I did get a cut on my finger at work a few days before I started showing symptoms. I waited a week to seek treatment because I originally thought I was having some kind of allergic reaction. By the time I did go to urgent care, I had a rash of small red spots all over my arms (shoulder to fingertips) and legs (hips to toes) plus on my trunk (front and back, plus chest). I also had blisters that looked similar to acne below my nose spreading to my cheeks and chin. Since the infection had spread so much already, I was immediately given a prednisone injection and prescribed topical steroid cream (for itching on my body) and antibiotic gel (for my face), plus an oral antibiotic (clindamycin because I was on vacation in a sunny place and I'm allergic to penicillin and sulfa drugs). I was also given a high dose course of prednisone to take for a week, slowly tapering from 6 pills a day to 1 pill a day. I'm glad the urgent care doctor decided to bring out the big guns right away. Hopefully this will totally wipe out the infection.

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