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Impetigo Types and Symptoms

Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection that causes sores and a honey-colored crust or blister-like bumps.



Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection that causes sores and a honey-colored crust or blister-like bumps. It can be itchy and unpleasant, and also it happens when skin– specifically already aggravated or busted skin– is available in contact with a common kind of staph or the microorganisms in charge of strep throat.

Impetigo can take place to any person, however it normally influences infants and also youngsters and also is most usual in those ages 2 to 5. Those detected with impetigo are normally treated with topical anti-biotics or dental anti-biotics to prevent problems and avoid its spread.

Types and Symptoms of Impetigo

There are 3 types of impetigo that are identified based upon the look of the contaminated skin and also exactly how deep the infection goes into skin layers.

Though there are some common locations where impetigo begins, untreated infections can swiftly spread to other areas on the youngster’s body. Pain and itching might happen in all types of impetigo, and scraping can additionally spread out the infection.


Nonbullous Impetigo (Impetigo Contagiosa)

The most common kind of impetigo, it entails only the outermost layers of skin called the skin. It commonly occurs in areas where the skin has actually been broken, inflamed, or damaged.

The nostrils, specifically in kids with drippy noses, are commonly influenced. The face, the neck, as well as the hands are other locations of the body where you are most likely to see lesions.

Key features:

  • It begins as red, itchy sores that drain clear fluid or pus for a few days.
  • Honey-colored, crusted lesions then develop over the sores.

Bullous Impetigo

Bullous impetigo likewise impacts the epidermis. It tends to form in locations where skin folds up or rubs versus various other skin, including the arms, legs, trunk, buttocks, armpits, as well as groin.

Key features:


  • It begins with fluid-filled blisters.
  • Lesions are much larger and may stay intact on the skin longer before rupturing.
  • Lesions may ooze a yellow fluid.

Ecthyma (Deep Impetigo)

This is a more serious bacterial infection that goes into the deeper skin layer of the dermis.

Key features:

  • It begins as a pustule; blisters are painful.
  • Blisters turn into deep punched-out ulcers; a brown-black crust may also form.

When to See a Doctor

If you see any kind of scratchy or painful red bumps, a honey-colored crust over sores, or blister-looking bumps on your youngster’s skin, call the doctor promptly to make sure that it can be treated as well as to avoid if from spreading out somewhere else on the child or to others.

If you kid has a high temperature, inflamed glands, blood in their pee, or is inactive, seek immediate clinical attention.


Impetigo can occur when skin is exposed to either:

  • Staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph responsible for a variety of types of skin infections and other concerns
  • Group A Streptococcus (GAS or Group A strep, also known as Streptococcus pyogenes), also responsible for strep throat, cellulitis, and other infections

The likely culprit(s) of a case of impetigo ultimately depends on the type that occurs.2

Impetigo Type Caused by S. aureus Caused by Group A strep

Ecthyma can occur from untreated impetigo that develops into a deeper infection.

Impetigo can establish as a primary infection when the microorganisms infects typical skin, or it can create as a second infection when germs gets into already irritated or open skin, such as from a wound, pest bite, toxin ivy, dermatitis, herpes, or scabies.


Direct contact with contaminated sores is what creates spread. This can occur in a variety of means as well as settings, such as:

  • When a child scratches an infected area and then touches another part of their body
  • Hugs, hand-shaking, or other forms of direct contact with an infected individual
  • Engaging in certain sports, such as wrestling
  • Crowded areas, such as schools or daycare centers

The S. aureus microorganisms generally conquer (survive on) the skin of kids as well as adults. It is specifically typical to locate it in the nose, so it can be passed easily if kids select their noses.

Though technically one step removed from straight call, the infection can additionally spread out if you touch the clothes, towels, or sheets of an infected person.

The bacteria that result in impetigo prosper in hot as well as damp settings and infections are much more typical in tropical or subtropical climates.


Diagnosis of impetigo is usually made after a physician takes a look at the skin and notices the regular appearance of the infection.


A doctor might likewise wish to do a bacterial society if they presume that impetigo is being brought on by an immune germs, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), or if a rash is not vanishing.


For small locations of infection, an over-the-counter or prescription-strength topical antibiotic is usually all that is needed. You will likewise need to consistently clean the area with warm, soapy water and afterwards cover it with a plaster to stop spread to others.

For a lot more comprehensive or consistent infections, a dental or intravenous antibiotic may be required.2 Ecthyma is usually treated with oral prescription antibiotics, for example.

MRSA is resistant to a number of the prescription antibiotics that are frequently utilized to treat impetigo, including Keflex (cephalexin), Augmentin (amoxicillin, clavulanic acid), Zithromax (azithromycin), and also cefdinir. If MRSA is the source of the infection, a stronger antibiotic, such as Cleocin (clindamycin) or Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim), may be needed.


Once treatment starts, the infection must start to go away within a few days. If you aren’t noticing an adjustment, let your medical professional recognize since a different medication might be required.

Repeat Infections

It is possible to get impetigo more than when. If impetigo or various other staph-related skin infections remain to take place, your doctor might suggest that all participants of your family obtain treated with antibiotics, such as Bactroban (mupirocin) nasal gel twice a day for 5 to seven days.

Various other actions, such as bathrooms with Hibiclens (an antiseptic, antimicrobial skin cleanser) and also very constant hand cleaning, may additionally be advised.4

How Long Is Impetigo Contagious?

Children are usually no longer contagious once they have been on antibiotics for 24 to 48 hours, there is no longer any discharge from lesions, and you are seeing signs of improvement.


Most cases of impetigo willpower without issues or scarring. If a scar does take place, it is typically from a deep infection of ecthyma. In these instances, you might want to see a skin specialist that can provide therapies to minimize the look of the scar.


In extremely uncommon cases, impetigo can lead to significant difficulties if it goes unattended. These can consist of:

  • Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, inflammation of the filters of the kidneys that can develop after a Group A strep infection. This can lead to hematuria (bloody urine) and high blood pressure.6
  • Scarlet fever, a condition caused by Group A strep that is characterized by fever, rash, and a red tongue
  • Septicemia, a serious blood infection caused by bacteria
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