Tuesday, 10 September 2013 10:15


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 What is Impetigo?


Impetigo is a highly infectious skin infection which is caused by the Staphylococcus and/or the Streptococcus bacteria, which commonly occurs in school aged children (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012). Impetigo begins as a red sore near the nose or mouth. It then breaks leaving yellow pus like fluid which over time forms a crust. The sores can be more than 1cm in diameter (Mayo Clinic, 2010). The sores are not painful, but may be itchy. The lymph nodes may also become affected area (Mayo Clinic, 2010).


The Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacteria often live harmlessly on the skin and in the nose. Cuts, abrasions, or dry and cracked skin may allow the bacteria to cause infections in deeper skin layers (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012).


How does Impetigo spread?


The sores are filled with bacteria, which spread by contact with the sores or infected fluid. Because the sores are itchy, people can scratch them and spread the infection, via their hands, to other parts of the body or to other people. The infection can also be spread by touching contaminated clothing and other items (MacDonald, 2004).


Incubation Period


The incubation period depends on the bacteria causing the sores. It is usually 1-3 days for Streptococcal infections and 4-10 days for Staphylococcal infections (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012).


Infectious Period


Children are infectious for as long as there is fluid weeping from the sores. They are no longer infectious 24 hours after starting antibiotic treatment, or when the sores have healed (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012).




The most common treatment option offered by doctors is a topical or oral antibiotic. Treatment may also involve the child washing the sores with soap and water and then allowing them to air dry (Macdonald, 2004). Children who don’t see results from these treatment options should go back to their doctor and have the sores reassessed.








Source for Image: http://medicsindex.ning.com/profiles/blogs/skin-infections-infectology


Mayo Clinic staff (5 October 2010). Impetigo. Mayo Clinic Health Information. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 25 August 2012.


National Health and Medical Research Council (2012). Staying Healthy: Preventing diseases in early childhood education and care services 5th Edn. NHMRC, Canberra.


MacDonald R.S. (October 2004). Treatment of Impetigo: Paint it blue. BMJ 329 (7472): 979.

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