Impetigo is a contagious bacterial skin infection most common among preschool children which usually produces blisters or sores on the face, neck, hands, and diaper area.
- Contagious impetigo
It is mainly seen in children younger than 2 years, involves painless, fluid-filled blisters, mostly on the arms, legs, and trunk, surrounded by red and itchy skin. After they break, they form yellow scabs.
This form initially presents as small red papules similar to insect bites. These lesions rapidly evolve to small blisters and then to pustules that finally scab over with a characteristic honey-colored crust.
In this form painful fluid- or pus-filled sores with redness of skin, usually on the arms and legs, become ulcers that penetrate deeper into the dermis. After they break open, they form hard, thick, gray-yellow scabs, which sometimes leave scars. Ecthyma may be accompanied by swollen lymph nodes in the affected area.
It is generally caused by one of two bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes. The infection is spread by direct contact with lesions or with nasal carriers. The incubation period is 1–3 days after exposure to Streptococcus and 4–10 days for Staphylococcus.
Topical or oral antibiotics are usually used for its treatment. Mild cases may be treated with bactericidal ointment, such as mupirocin.
More severe cases require oral antibiotics, such as dicloxacillin, flucloxacillin, or erythromycin. Alternatively, amoxicillin combined with clavulanate potassium,
cephalosporins (first-generation) and many others may also be used as an antibiotic treatment.