Is Impetigo Contagious?

Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection which typically develops in infants and young children. The infection appears as red bumps near the mouth and face which rupture and develop a yellowish crust.

Types of Impetigo

Impetigo develops on the face around the mouth. It is evident by the appearance of red sores that quickly erupt and develop yellowish crusts.

Bullous Impetigo is a form of impetigo found in infants. Bullous impetigo develops around the bottom and diaper area and also erupts and scabs in a yellow crust.

Ecthyma is a more serious type of impetigo that develops as painful blisters filled with pus. Without treatment, ecthyma may develop into deep ulcers.

Symptoms of Impetigo

Red sores that develop near the nose and mouth are a key indicator of impetigo. These sores burst relatively quickly and then develop a crust that is thin and yellow in appearance.

Bullous impetigo affects infants and young children on the trunk of their bodies and in the areas covered by diapers. These covered areas of the skin are prone to infection because of added warmth and moisture.

Is Impetigo Contagious?

Impetigo spreads quickly and is highly contagious. It spreads through direct contact with an infected area or through contact with hands, clothing, towels, even toys, that have been exposed to the bacteria.

Treatment of Impetigo

To reduce contagion, it is best to have impetigo treated immediately. Antibiotics can help impede the spread of the contagion within 24 to 48 hours.

Without treatment impetigo takes two to three weeks to clear up on its own and can be contagious the entire time.

A medically-trained professional can best assess how to treat each case and are likely to suggest using a compress to clean the area before applying a prescribed antibiotic ointment. If there are multiple sores, antibiotics may be administered in tablet form.

Impetigo is generally not harmful. However, in serious cases, impetigo can cause scarring, kidney problems, or cellulitis, which can be life-threatening.

Consulting a medical professional after seeing symptoms of impetigo is highly recommended.

For help with impetigo call the Skin & Cancer Center of Scottsdale at (480) 596-1110.