Friday, March 09, 2012

Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection most

common among pre-school children. Dr. Edward Hill explains more about this skin condition in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria. It is a rash that starts as a small red spot or bump and turns into a blister. The blisters break easily and leave a honey-colored crust. Sometimes the blisters get very large. They usually are on the face or arms but also can be in damp areas like the diaper area or armpit.

Impetigo is most common in children. It is very contagious, and you can get it by touching other people who have it. The rash is usually itchy. Sometimes people with impetigo have swollen glands, a fever or diarrhea.

Impetigo is treated with antibiotics. If the rash is small, an antibiotic cream like mupirocin works best. For a larger rash your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic. Over-the-counter creams don't work well to treat impetigo.

Even without treatment, the rash almost always goes away without scarring. Treatment helps the rash go away faster and may keep it from spreading to other people. Rarely, some patients may have kidney or other health problems after impetigo.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.