There are two types of impetigo, non-bullous and bullous.
The more common type is the non-bullous impetigo. This type is
caused by both Staph and Strep.
The individual with this infection may
notice small blisters or scabs, which will form yellow crusts.
Non-bullous impetigo usually appears on the nose, face, arms
and legs. The glands nearby may be swollen. Staph bacteria that
then produce a toxin that will cause the skin to break out in
blisters cause the bullous type of impetigo.
Impetigo is contagious when there is direct skin-to-skin
contact with someone who has impetigo. Impetigo usually spreads
to other parts of the body, especially in children.
Other conditions like ringworm and scabies mimic impetigo,
so a doctor has to diagnose impetigo.
The treatment for impetigo involves applying a prescription
antibiotic ointment. The very mild cases of impetigo can go
away without treatment.
Bullous impetigo, may require oral antibiotic medication to
be cleared up. The doctor may need to take a culture to decide
which antibiotic is best to use.
There is one possible complication of impetigo and that is
"glomerulonephritis", a kidney condition that produces
inflammation. This complication is rare and does not cause any
lasting kidney damage.
Impetigo does not normally leave scars unless it goes
untreated over a long period of time. It is important to seek
medical care as soon as you notice the symptoms of impetigo
because treating it with antibiotics will help it to heal
faster which decreases the chance of spreading it to
The antibiotic prescribed may be oral, an ointment or both.
Usually the antibiotic is of the penicillin family medicines or
a related type of medicine called cephalosporins. Those who are
allergic to penicillin are usually treated with erythromycin,
clarithromycin or azithromycin. The topical ointment that is
usually used is called mupirocin .
You will need to notify your doctor or be seen immediately
if you notice blood in your urine, your skin swells, or you
experience a rise in your blood pressure. You will also need to
let your doctor know if the impetigo gets worse.
Be careful not to scratch or pick at wounds. After applying
antibacterial ointment it is important to wash your hands so
you do not spread the infection.
The best way to prevent impetigo is to always clean scrapes
and cuts and apply antibacterial ointment. Avoid receiving any
type of skin injury if possible and seek medical attention when
you suspect you may have impetigo.