Impetigo ( "im-puh-TY-go") is a bacterial skin infection. It causes red sores that can break open, ooze fluid, and develop a yellow-brown crust. These sores can occur anywhere on the body. It is one of the most common skin infections in children. It can occur in adults but is seen far more often in children. Impetigo is contagious and can be spread to others through close contact or by sharing towels, sheets, clothing, toys, or other items. Scratching can also spread the sores to other parts of the body.
Impetigo is caused by one of two kinds of bacteria- strep (streptococcus) or staph (staphylococcus). Often these bacteria enter the body when the skin has already been irritated or injured because of other skin problems such as eczema, insect bites, burns, or cuts. Children may get impetigo after they have had a cold or allergies that have made the skin under the nose raw. But impetigo can also develop in completely healthy skin.
- You or your child may have impetigo if you have sores:
- That begin as small red spots, then change to blisters that eventually break open. The sores are typically not painful, but they may be itchy.
- That ooze fluid and look crusty.
- That increase in size and number. Sores may be as small as a pimple or larger than a coin.