General Illness Information

Medical Term:


Common Name: None Specified


  • An infectious bacterial infection of the skin, causing small bubbles that become pustules and eventually form crusts;
  • Most common in children;
  • Very contagious, especially in families.

Causes: Staphylococcal or streptococcal (or combination) bacteria growing in the skin. 50 to 90% of infections are due to staphylococci and are spread by contact or insect vector or contamination at trauma site.


  • Bathe daily with soap and water;
  • Keep fingernails short. Don’t scratch impetigo blisters;
  • If there is an outbreak in the family, urge all members to use antibacterial soap;
  • Use separate towels for each family member, or substitute paper towels temporarily;
  • Don’t share razors with other people.

Signs & Symptoms

  • A red rash with many small blisters. Some blisters contain pus, and yellow crusts form when they break. The blisters are not usually painful, but they maybe itchy;
  • May be slow and indolent or rapidly spreading;
  • Most common around the mouth and nose, or at the site of injury;
  • Satellite lesions;
  • Usually multiple sites;
  • Bullae on buttocks, trunk and face.

Risk Factors

  • Poor health with malnutrition and anemia;
  • Illness that has lowered resistance;
  • Warm, moist weather;
  • Crowded or unsanitary living conditions;
  • Poor hygiene;
  • Minor trauma and insect bites;
  • Complication to eczema, scabies, chicken pox, pediculosis;
  • Burns;
  • Contact sports.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnostic tests may include laboratory skin culture to identify the germ causing the infection.

General Measures:

  • Scrub lesions with gauze and antiseptic soap. Break any pustules. Remove all crusts, and expose and cleanse all lesions. If crusts are difficult to remove, soak them in warm soapy water and scrub gently;
  • There is usually no need to cover the sores. However if a child continues to scratch and pick at them, cover impetigo sores with gauze and tape to keep hands away from them;
  • Treat new lesions the same way, even if you are not sure they are impetigo;
  • Separate and boil bed linen, if possible, and towels, clothes and other items that have touched sores;
  • Men should shave around sores on the face, not over them. Use an aerosol shaving cream and change razor blades each day;
  • Don’t use a shaving brush; it may harbor germs.


  • Antibiotic ointments may be prescribed;
  • Oral antibiotics may be prescribed.


No restrictions.


No special diet.

Possible Complications:

  • Penetration of the infection to deeper skin layer (ecthyma or cellulitis). This may cause scarring. Treatment is the same as for impetigo;
  • Acute glomerulonephritis (kidney disorder);
  • Bacteremia-(spreading of the infection into bloodstream);
  • Osteomyelitis;
  • Pneumonia;
  • Lymphadenitis.


Curable in 7-10 days with treatment.


Other stated in sentence form. If nothing pertains to this section then it can be left as saying ‘Nothing Specified’.

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