- Is Impetigo Contagious? Center
- Adult Skin Problems Slideshow
- Quiz: Is Ringworm Contagious?
- Gallery of Skin Problems Pictures
- Patient Comments: Is Impetigo Contagious? - Medical Care
- Find a local Doctor in your town
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 one to three days for streptococci and about four to 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 two-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 two to three 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
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Baddour, Larry M. "Impetigo." UpToDate.com. June 2018. <http://www.uptodate.com/contents/impetigo>.
Top Is Impetigo Contagious Related Articles
Amoxicillin vs Augmentin
Amoxicillin and Augmentin (amox-clav) are antibiotics used to treat a variety of bacterial infections that include bronchitis, tonsillitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, laryngitis, skin infections, and urinary tract infections. Amoxicillin is a penicillin antibiotic, and Augmentin or amox-clav chemically is closely related to ampicillin and penicillin.
Amoxicillin and Augmentin have similar side effects such as rash, heartburn nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, easy bruising or bleeding, and allergic reactions.
Augmentin also causes side effects like gas, bloating, headache, and reversible hepatitis. Both amoxicillin and Augmentin have serious side effects that should be reviewed prior to taking either antibiotic.
Dosage instructions for amoxicillin and Augmentin depend upon the drug and type of bacterial infection being treated. Both antibiotics have drug interactions, and are not recommended if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Bacterial Infections 101Learn more about bacteria and the most common bacterial infections. Get more information on bacterial skin infections, which bacteria cause food poisoning, sexually transmitted bacteria, and more.
Kids' Illnesses SlideshowIs your child at risk for these childhood diseases? Know what to look for and when to call the doctor for conditions such as measles, mumps, ringworm, pink eye, strep throat, cough, ear aches, and more.
Cipro, XR (ciprofloxacin) vs Keflex (cephalexin)
Cipro, generic name ciprofloxacin, and Keflex, generic name cephalexin, are antibiotics that belong to different drug classes. Cipro is a type of fluoroquinolone and Keflex is a type of penicillin. Cipro and Keflex can cause similar side effects like abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, and skin rashes.
Keflex has fewer serious side effects than Cipro, for example, anaphylaxis, a type of severe allergic reaction. Cipro and Keflex both can cause a serious infection with C. difficile, which causes severe, chronic diarrhea and may lead to pseudomembranous colitis. Cipro has many serious side effects, for example, Achilles tendon rupture, peripheral nerve pain, CNS problems, high blood sugar, abnormal heart rhythms, hepatitis, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), liver failure, acute kidney failure, cardiac arrest, and respiratory failure.
Cipro and Keflex are used to treat bacterial infections, for example, infections of the ears, skin, bone, urinary tract, and C. difficile (infectious diarrhea). Cipro also is used for the treatment of lower respiratory infections, sinusitis, chronic prostatitis, TB, typhoid fever, cystitis, the plague, anthrax poisoning, and bronchiectasis. Keflex also is used for the treatment of infections of the middle ear, tonsils (tonsillitis), bronchioles (bronchitis), laryngitis (larynx), and lungs (pneumonia).
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 PictureA bacterial skin infection caused by the staphylococcus or, more rarely, streptococcus bacteria. The first sign of impetigo is a patch of red, itchy skin. See a picture of Impetigo and learn more about the health topic.
penicillins-injectionPenicillin 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.
Side Effects of levofloxacin Levaquin
Levaquin (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.
The most common side effects are:
- Nausea or vomiting
Less frequent side effects are:
- Problems sleeping
Levaquin has serious side effects and adverse effects, such as:
- Tendonitis and tendon rupture
- Liver dysfunction
- Abnormal heart beats
- Abnormal heart beats
- Sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity)
Kids' Skin ProblemsWhat are the most common skin rashes in children? Learn about childhood eczema, ring worm, chicken pox and more. Get the facts on treatment for childhood skin problems.
Staphylococcus 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.
Staph Infection SlideshowDo you know what a staph infection is? Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of staph infections (Staphylococcus aureus), and how this group of bacteria can cause a multitude diseases ranging from mild to potentially fatal.
treatment 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.