What is impetigo?
Impetigo is a very contagious common skin infection, but it is often not serious. It usually starts with red sores or blisters, which tend to leave crusty patches. These are most commonly found around the nose, mouth, hands, and feet.
While anyone can get impetigo, it affects children more often than adults. It can clear up by itself, but you can get treatment to help it clear up more quickly.
The symptoms of impetigo:
- starts with red sores or blisters (may be harder to see on darker skin tones)
- often starts around the nose, mouth, hands and feet
- sores and blisters burst to leave crusty patches
- crusty patches can get bigger and spread to other areas of your body
- the patches look a bit like cornflakes and can be itchy and painful
A medical review in 2015 estimated that over 1 in 10 children get impetigo during childhood.
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria usually cause impetigo. Bacteria can enter the skin through a break in otherwise healthy skin (e.g. a bite, injury or cut) or where there is an underlying skin condition such as eczema or scabies.
There are two different types of impetigo:
- this is the most common form of impetigo
- starts with itchy red sores around the mouth and nose, which break open to form a yellow crust
- starts with blisters which have liquid inside. The liquid is usually clear but can be darker
- a yellow crust forms once the blisters burst
- it can be associated with other symptoms, such as fever, nausea and diarrhoea
Back to top