Frequently Asked Questions About Impetigo
What is Impetigo?
- Impetigo is a skin infection caused by specific bacteria.
- These bacteria are very common and live on lots of people's skin or inside
the nose without causing any problems.
- Impetigo develops if the bacteria get inside the skin and multiply.
- Impetigo is very contagious (easily spread). Good hygiene precautions help
to stop the bacteria spreading and prevent other people catching it.
- The symptoms of impetigo usually appear 4-10 days after you've been infected
with the bacteria.
- Impetigo is most common on the face and hands, but it can develop anywhere.
What are the symptoms of Impetigo?
- Small blisters develop first, they tend to burst quickly leaving scabby
areas of skin. These patches look like yellowy moist crusts stuck to the skin.
Sometimes there are only one or two of these areas. The skin underneath tends
to look red and inflamed.
- Patches of impetigo are usually quite small. Sometimes other patches of
impetigo develop near to the original patch and spread outwards. Impetigo is
How do you catch Impetigo?
- Impetigo is spread through direct contact with infected skin (touching).
- It can also spread if you share towels or bedding with people who are infected,
although this is less common.
- Conditions where the skin is broken, such as eczema or scratches or insect
bites, can make it easier for the bacteria to enter the skin's layers and begin
- The infection can be passed on until treatment has been started and the
infected areas have started to heal.
How do I get treatment for Impetigo?
- Impetigo is treated with antibiotics. In severe cases tablets may be necessary.
With antibiotics, the infection usually clears up in 7 - 10 days.
- It's likely to heal by itself in two to three weeks, but because its so
easily spread and can lead to more serious infections, its important to get
rid of it as quickly as possible.
- If you think you might have impetigo, you should make an appointment to
see the doctor (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
- The doctor will give you a prescription and explain to you how to manage
- When applying antibiotic cream, wash the patch of impetigo with soap and
water first, and wash your hands after you've finished.
- Do not touch affected areas of skin; wash your hands frequently.
- don't share towels or bedding if you have impetigo, and make sure everything
is washed at a high temperature after use.
- Wash the rash with soap and water and cover it loosely with a gauze bandage
- Touch the rash as little as possible.
- Wash hands frequently.
- Avoid contact with newborn babies.
- Do not share make-up.
- Do not scratch affected area.
- To prevent the impetigo returning, keep cuts and scratches clean and ensure
that any condition causing broken skin is treated early.