Impetigo (School Sores)New Picture (65)

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.


Children should be excluded from preschool or school until 24 hours after treatment has begun.