Impetigo: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Impetigo is a skin disorder that affects, particularly children. It’s the most common skin infection in children between the ages of 2 and 5. This does not mean that adults cannot get it, just that children are more likely to be infected. About 11 million impetigo infections are diagnosed each year. If you have or know children in this age group, it’s important to know what causes impetigo, how to recognize it, and possible treatment options.

What Is Impetigo?
Impetigo, then, is a skin disease that causes infections. It is caused by one or both bacteria called streptococcus and staphylococcus aureus. When someone has a cut, break, or bite that opens the skin, the above-mentioned bacteria can enter the body and create an impetigo rash. Note that there are also frequent cases of someone contracting impetigo even though he or she had no wounds around the time of infection.

The skin condition is (very) contagious, but the big question is: how does it spread? Well, when someone touches these sores (and then touches him or herself) they get infected as well. This includes contact sports, like wrestling & water polo. Impetigo also spread via shared clothes, bedding, towels, etc. This makes this skin infection contagious by touch, so make sure to avoid contact as much as possible.

Risk Factors of Impetigo
You already know that especially kids are easily infected by impetigo, but a few factors increase the risk even more (for adults). These risk factors include:

  • Live in close contact or crowded households
  • Live in a tropical climate
  • Play contact sport, where cuts & scrapes are common
  • Have poor personal hygiene
  • Have another skin condition, like eczema or scabies
  • Have weakened immune system
  • Have diabetes

A child can also be more at risk when it has an insect bite, a fungal infection, or body lice on the skin that is exposed. Continue reading on the next page and find out, among others, how you can recognize impetigo and what you should do next.