Overview on impetigo

12 February 2015
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12 February 2015, Comments: 0

Impetigo is a contagious skin condition that typically occurs on the neck, face and hands of infants and young children. It is important to note that children who wear diapers can also develop it around the diaper area. Impetigo occurs rarely in adults typically following another skin condition or an infection.

This condition is caused by two bacteria – staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus pyogenes. The ideal form of treatment often depends on the type of bacteria that is causing the condition. The outlook for this condition is good and typically goes away within 2-3 weeks.

What are the types of impetigo?

There are various types of impetigo and they are set apart by the symptoms and their causes.

Impetigo contagiosa

This type is also called non-bullous impetigo and the most common type among children and highly contagious. It starts with red-colored sores around the mouth and nose. The blisters burst and leave behind a weeping, red rash that becomes crusted. This can be itchy but not painful. In addition, swollen lymph nodes can also occur.

Bullous impetigo

This type of impetigo is quite common among children below 2 years old. The blisters typically occur in the arms, torso and legs. These blisters can primarily appear as clear and then turn cloudy. As for the blisters, they tend to last longer than the blisters of other types of impetigo. The areas surrounding the blisters can become red and itchy.


This is the serious type of impetigo since it involves the second skin layer. The blisters are painful and can turn into ulcers or open sores. Swollen lymph nodes and scars can also occur.


The symptoms can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, especially when they develop on the face.

Risk factors

There are some individuals who are more likely to develop impetigo. The risk factors include the following:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Children 2-6 years old
  • Children attending daycare or school
  • Warm weather
  • Diabetes
  • Staying in crowded environments
  • Dermatitis
  • Engaging in activities that involve skin-to-skin contact
  • Compromised immune system

Causes of impetigo

Impetigo can occur when certain types of bacteria infect the skin. Take note that this can occur in various ways such as the following:

  • Skin injuries
  • Skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual
  • Contact with objects that an infected individual touched
  • Animal bites
  • Insect bites

Symptoms of impetigo

The symptoms can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, especially when they develop on the face. Even though the symptoms tend to vary slightly from type to type, they are similar and include the following:

  • Blisters filled with fluid
  • Red sores that easily pop and leave behind a yellow crust
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Itchy rash
  • Skin lesions

Diagnosing impetigo

The doctor will assess the sores and ask about any skin injuries. In most cases of impetigo, they are diagnosed through physical examination. Nevertheless, the doctor might take a culture to determine the type of bacteria that caused the condition.


The treatment for impetigo depends on the severity of the symptoms as well as the type of bacteria responsible for causing the condition. For mild cases, the doctor will recommend simple hygienic measures to facilitate healing and prevent it from spreading.

The affected area must be cleansed several times in a day either with water or an antibacterial wash. Avoid scrubbing the area while washing since this will further irritate the skin. Pat the skin dry and apply an antibacterial or antibiotic ointment. You can enroll in a class on first aid today so that you are prepared to handle this condition.

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