What is impetigo?

December 22, 2006 3:42am CST
Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria - either group A streptacoccus or staphyloccocus aureus. These are fairly common bacteria found on the skin of healthy people. They can enter open wounds - cuts, scratches, even insect bites - to cause impetigo. Impetigo can affect the skin anywhere on the body but often attacks the area around the nose and mouth. It is more likely to show up on skin already affected by eczema or a skin allergy. Symptoms include blisters that usually burst, oozing fluid before hardening into a yellow-brown crust. Impetigo is contagious and infection can be spread around the body - or to someone else - by touch. Treatment is by antibiotics, via ointment or pill. Usually, impetigo is no longer contagious after about 24 to 48 hours of treatment. After three days of treatment it should start to heal and scab over. Good personal hygiene practises will help prevent impetigo as will watching out for skin that is irritated, injured or raw and keeping those areas clean and covered-up.
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