Health Education

Impetigo

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What is impetigo and why does it occur?

Impetigo is a superficial skin infection. Impetigo is caused by strep or staph, the two germs that cover most of our bodies. With intact skin, these germs do not cause any problems. However, with a break in the skin such as with a cut or an insect bite, these germs invade the skin and cause a sore or a crusty lesion. When there is a golden appearance to the crust or spreading redness, the child should be seen.

What can you do?

Most superficial infections get better with no intervention. The over the counter topical antibiotics such as Triple Antibiotic, Neosporin or Bacitracin or any of their generic equivalents are helpful to use 2-3 times a day to prevent the infection from spreading. If more sores begin appearing or the area of redness spreads, the child needs to be evaluated. Often the next step is to use oral antibiotics or to use a newer topical antibiotic called mupirocin or Bactroban that is available by prescription only.