Understanding Impetigo

Impetigo is an infection caused by the presence of bacteria on the skin. There are two types of bacteria found on our skin that cause impetigo: Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes (which also causes strep throat). Most of us go about our lives carrying around these bacteria without a problem. However, a minor cut, scrape, or insect bite can allow these bacteria to cause an infection that will eventually result in impetigo. Anyone can get impetigo, and individuals can even catch it more than once. Although impetigo is a year-round disease, it occurs most often during the warm weather months. There are more than 3 million cases of impetigo in the United States every year, making it a relatively common skincare concern. If you think you’re dealing with impetigo, reach out to the Certified Dermatology location that’s most convenient for you, and set up your initial appointment with a helpful member of our team today.

When to Contact Certified Dermatology

The signs and symptoms that indicate impetigo are fairly easy to spot, and it’s recommended that you reach out to us as soon as you start to suspect that you may be dealing with this disease. As mentioned, anybody can contract impetigo, which is most commonly seen during periods of warm weather.

Look for these signs of impetigo:

  • Itchy red sores that fill with fluid and then burst open, forming a yellow crust
  • Itchy rash
  • Fluid-filled blisters

Controlling and Preventing Impetigo

Untreated, impetigo often clears up on its own after a few days or weeks. The key to managing this condition involves making sure to keep the infected area clean with soap and water. It’s also important that you avoid scratching or picking at the sores, when they are present. The downside of not treating impetigo is that some individuals can develop an increased number of lesions that will eventually spread to other areas of their bodies. For this reason, we recommend seeking treatment rather than opting for the “wait it out” approach.

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How to Avoid Spreading Impetigo

Impetigo is contagious and can be easily spread to other individuals. To spread impetigo, you need fairly close contact—not casual contact—with an infected person or objects they have recently touched. For this reason, outbreaks are commonly seen within immediate family groups or in classrooms.

You can avoid spreading impetigo to other people or other parts of your body by:

  • Cleaning infected areas with soap and water
  • Loosely covering scabs and sores until they heal
  • Gently removing crusty scabs
  • Washing your hands with soap and water after touching infected areas or infected persons
  • Avoid touching objects that someone with impetigo has used, such as utensils, towels, sheets, clothing, and toys
  • Keep your fingernails short, so the bacteria can’t live under your nails
  • Avoid scratching any sores or lesions
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