Impetigo is an infection of the skin. When it affects just the surface, it’s called superficial impetigo. Impetigo can also affect deeper parts of the skin. This is called ecthyma. It may occur on healthy skin. Or it may occur where the skin was injured by a cut, scrape, or insect bite.
Impetigo is most common in children from ages 2 to 5. It is contagious. This means it’s easily passed from one person to another. It can be spread around a household. Children can infect other family members, and can reinfect themselves.
Impetigo is caused by bacteria. The bacteria that can cause it include:
Impetigo is more common in children, but adults may also have the infection. A child is more likely to get impetigo if he or she:
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They also vary depending on which bacteria caused it. Symptoms can include:
The bumps or sores can be painful and appear anywhere on the body. But they are most common on the face, arms, and legs.
The symptoms of impetigo can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. Treatment may include:
Possible complications of impetigo can include:
Impetigo caused by beta-hemolytic strep bacteria can cause:
You can help to prevent impetigo and prevent it from spreading to others. The following may help:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider: