Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria. It is usually caused by staphylococcal (staph) bacteria, but it can also be caused by streptococcal (strep) bacteria. It is most common in children between the ages of two and six. It usually starts when bacteria get into a break in the skin, such as a cut, scratch, or insect bite.
Symptoms start with red or pimple-like sores surrounded by red skin. These sores can be anywhere, but usually they occur on your face, arms and legs. The sores fill with pus, then break open after a few days and form a thick crust. They are often itchy, but scratching them can spread the sores.
Impetigo can spread by contact with sores or nasal discharge from an infected person. You can treat impetigo with antibiotics.
NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Treatments and Therapies
- How to Treat Impetigo and Control This Common Skin Infection (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
- Impetigo Care (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Impetigo: Tips for Treatment and Prevention (American Osteopathic Association)