Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection which, if untreated, could lead to a serious illness such as kidney infection.
TRANSMISSION – The bacteria are spread from one infected person to another through a break in the skin, such as a cut, scratch or a bite.
SYMPTOMS – Impetigo usually starts as a little blister that turns into a sore. There may be one or more sores and these may spread to other areas of the body. The sores are generally red around a dry honey-brown crusted centre. Sometimes the sores contain pus and they may weep. The sores don’t heal naturally and it is important to see a doctor for treatment.
MANAGEMENT – If symptoms develop the person should be kept home from preschool or school.
The child (and any person handling the infected child) should:
- Wash and dry hands after going to the toilet and before preparing and/or eating food.
- Keep fingernails cut short and be discouraged from touching the sores.
- Have individual towels and face cloths.
- Keep the sores covered with a dry dressing. The dressing should be changed twice a day.
- Any person with a skin infection must not swim or play contact sport until the sores are healed.
TREATMENT – A course of oral antibiotics will probably be prescribed. Sometimes an antibiotic ointment will also be prescribed.
FOR TREATMENT THE PERSON NEEDS TO SEE A DOCTOR
Children should be excluded from preschool or school until 24 hours after treatment has begun.