- Is It Contagious?
- Symptoms & Signs
- Infection Duration
- When to Call the Doctor
What is impetigo?
Impetigo (impetigo contagiosa) is a superficial bacterial infection most frequently observed in children 2-5 years of age, although adults may become infected. Lesions begin as papules (small bumps) and then progress to small vesicles (blisters) surrounded by redness of the skin (usually on the face near the mouth and on extremities). Vesicles become larger and leak fluid, producing a characteristic golden crust on the lesions.
There are two major types of impetigo: nonbullous (the most common type described above) and bullous impetigo, which is characterized by enlarged vesicles filled with a clear yellow fluid that becomes darkened and, when ruptured, forms a brownish crust. The patient's body (trunk) is often infected in contrast to nonbullous impetigo.
Unlike impetigo, ecthyma is a more serious infection that penetrates deeply into the skin; it produces fluid or pus-filled sores that are painful. These sores can produce ulcers in the skin. This subtype is not often seen.
Is impetigo contagious?
Impetigo is a highly contagious disease. Impetigo is easily spread from person to person by direct contact with the lesions and/or indirectly by touching items (clothing, sheets, or toys) that have been used by individuals with this skin disease. Indirect transmission is less frequent than direct person-to-person transmission. Bacteria cause impetigo; group A streptococci and staphylococci are the organisms that most frequently cause impetigo.
What does impetigo look like? What is the incubation period for impetigo?
A person infected with impetigo usually starts out with irritating, itchy blisters that can develop pus. The incubation period is about 1-3 days for streptococci and about 4-10 days for staphylococci. The individual may also develop local lymph node enlargement. Diagnosis of impetigo is often made clinically without special testing by the patient's history and physical examination and the appearance of the characteristic crusting lesions. However, the diagnosis can be confirmed by isolation and identification of the bacteria from the skin lesions.
How does impetigo spread?
Impetigo is spread mainly by person-to-person contact; it is rapidly spread through direct transmission in day-care centers and schools. Less frequently, the disease may be spread indirectly by contact with sheets, clothing, or toys contaminated by infected individuals. Impetigo is mainly confined to humans. Contact sports may spread impetigo; wrestling is considered to be the most likely sport to spread it, followed by football and rugby.
How will I know when someone is cured of impetigo? How long is the contagious period for impetigo?
Some individuals can self-cure impetigo over about a 2-week period. An infected individual becomes cured or noncontagious after the sores go away. However, this time span may be reduced with appropriate topical antibiotics. Some individuals may require more aggressive treatment with oral antibiotics or, in severe infections (rare), IV antibiotics. With effective antibiotics, the person is usually considered noncontagious after about 24-48 hours of treatment.
When should I contact a medical caregiver about impetigo?
Some individuals benefit from topical antibiotic treatment; if you or your child is involved in an outbreak of impetigo, you should contact your physician or your child's pediatrician. If fever develops or if the condition persists after about 2-3 days of treatment with no improvement, you should contact a physician. If the rash and lesions develop rapidly and become red, warm, and tender and/or red streaks develop, contact a physician urgently or go to an emergency department.
IMAGESSee a picture of impetigo and other bacterial skin conditions See Images
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ImpetigoImpetigo is a contagious skin infection caused by staph and strep bacteria. There are two types of impetigo: nonbullous and bullous. Symptoms of nonbullous impetigo include small blisters on the nose, face, arms, or legs and possibly swollen glands. Bullous impetigo signs include blisters in various areas, particularly in the buttocks area. Treatment involves gentle cleansing, removing the crusts of popped blisters, and the application of prescription-strength mupirocin antibiotic ointment.
Impetigo PictureImpetigo is a skin infection caused by staphylococcus aureus bacteria. It generally occurs in children and while sores can appear anywhere on the body, children tend to get them on their face. They start as tiny blisters that break and reveal moist, red skin. After a few days, it gets covered with a grainy, golden crust that gradually spreads at the edges.
Impetigo Symptoms and TreatmentsImpetigo is a mild infection and can affect any part of the body. Mostly, it affects the nose and mouth or arms or legs. Impetigo causes red, itchy sores, pus discharge and scabs that form over the sores.
mupirocinMupirocin is an antibiotic that is used topically for the treatment of impetigo, MRSA, and staph infections. The nasal spray may be prescribed for individuals that come into contact with patients infected with MRSA, or other infectious diseases. Side effects are uncommon and mild with mupirocin. The most frequent side effects are burning, stinging, pain, and itching at the area of application.
Penicillin (Antibiotics)Penicillin antibiotics are prescribed to treat a variety of types of infections. For example, middle ear and sinus infections; bladder, stomach, intestines, and kidney; pneumonia; sepsis; meningitis; endocarditis; and many other serious infections. Examples of penicillin antibiotics, side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
levofloxacin (Levaquin) Side Effects and Adverse EffectsLevaquin (levofloxacin) is an antibiotic that belongs to a drug class called fluoroquinolone. It's used to treat a variety of bacterial infections of the skin, gut, lungs, and urinary structures and organs, for example, prostatitis, pneumonia, complicated urinary tract infections (UTIs), pseudomembranous colitis (C diff.), E. coli, chronic bronchitis, and mastitis.
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Staph (Staphylococcus) InfectionStaphylococcus or staph is a group of bacteria that can cause a multitude of diseases. Staph infections can cause illness directly by infection or indirectly by the toxins they produce. Symptoms and signs of a staph infection include redness, swelling, pain, and drainage of pus. Minor skin infections are treated with an antibiotic ointment, while more serious infections are treated with intravenous antibiotics.
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What Is the Best Treatment for Impetigo?Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection that causes a rash that forms blisters and can ooze pus, causing a crust. Impetigo can be caused by different kinds of bacteria, including strep and staph. Usually, impetigo is easy to treat and rarely leaves scarring.