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Impetigo: Introduction

Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria. Impetigo is extremely contagious and is easily spread through contact with an infected person or infected clothing, linens, towels or other personal items.

Impetigo is usually caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus or Group A streptocococcus. These bacteria enter the skin through small cuts, scratches or abrasions and begin to multiply. Impetigo first appears as patch of small blisters, often around the mouth and nose. The impetigo blisters eventually break open, revealing red, oozing skin. The skin weeps fluid. A yellow-brown crust forms over the skin, and the infection spreads to other areas. Itching is common and scratching the infected area and touching another part of the body can further spread the infection.

Impetigo is most common in childhood, and in infants impetigo can spread and infect the entire body.

Other symptoms that accompany impetigo include fever and swollen glands. In rare cases, a severe complication called glomerulonephritis can occur. For more information on complications and symptoms, refer to symptoms of impetigo.

Making a diagnosis of impetigo begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination that focuses on the area of skin that is affected. Diagnosis is generally made on recognition of the typical appearance of the infected area of skin.

It is possible that a diagnosis of impetigo can be missed or delayed because the area of skin may be small and may appear similar to a number of other skin diseases. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of impetigo.

Treatment of impetigo includes cleansing the affected area and prescribed antibiotics. Prevention of the spread of impetigo to other areas of the body and other people is also important. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of impetigo. ...more »

Impetigo: Impetigo is a superficial skin infection most common among children age 2-6 years. Skin infections are usually caused by different ... more about Impetigo.

Impetigo: Contagious skin rash from bacteria. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Impetigo is available below.

Impetigo: Symptoms

Symptoms of impetigo include a patch of small blisters that often first appear around the mouth and nose. These blisters eventually break open, revealing red, oozing skin. The skin weeps fluid. A yellow-brown shiny crust then forms over the skin, and the infection spreads to other areas. Itching is common and scratching the infected area and touching another ...more symptoms »

Impetigo: Treatments

The first step in treating the appearance and spread of impetigo is prevention. Preventive measures include frequent hand washing and not sharing personal items, such as linens, towels and clothing. It is important not to touch or scratch the patches of skin affected by impetigo. This can spread the infection to other parts of the body or to other ...more treatments »

Impetigo: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of impetigo may be delayed because the appearance of the affected patches of skin can be similar to other skin diseases. These include eczema, psoriasis, poison ivy or shingles. ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Impetigo

Treatments for Impetigo

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Impetigo:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Impetigo?

Impetigo: Related Patient Stories

Impetigo: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Impetigo.

Alternative Treatments for Impetigo

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Impetigo may include:

  • Antibiotic cream
  • Wash with antibacterial soap three times a day
  • Leave the affected area exposed to air
  • Avoid scratching
  • more treatments »

Types of Impetigo

Diagnostic Tests for Impetigo

Test for Impetigo in your own home

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Impetigo: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Impetigo:

Causes of Impetigo

More information about causes of Impetigo:

Disease Topics Related To Impetigo

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Impetigo:

Impetigo: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Impetigo

Mild worm infections undiagnosed in children: Human worm infestations, esp. threadworm, can be overlooked in some cases, because it may cause only mild or even absent symptoms. Although the most common symptoms are anal itch (or more »

Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The more »

Psoriasis often undiagnosed cause of skin symptoms in children: Children who suffer from the skin disorder called psoriasis can often go undiagnosed. The main problem is that psoriasis is rare in more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur more »

Impetigo: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Impetigo

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Impetigo:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Impetigo, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Latest Treatments for Impetigo

Impetigo: Animations

Research about Impetigo

Visit our research pages for current research about Impetigo treatments.

Clinical Trials for Impetigo

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Impetigo include:

Statistics for Impetigo

Impetigo: Broader Related Topics

Impetigo Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Impetigo, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Impetigo

Impetigo is a superficial skin infection most common among children age 2-6 years. Skin infections are usually caused by different streptococci strains than those that cause strep throat. (Source: excerpt from Group A Streptococcal Infections, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

Definitions of Impetigo:

A common superficial bacterial infection caused by STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS or group A beta-hemolytic streptococci. Characteristics include pustular lesions that rupture and discharge a thin, amber-colored fluid that dries and forms a crust. This condition is commonly located on the face, especially about the mouth and nose. - (Source - Diseases Database)

A very contagious infection of the skin; common in children; localized redness develops into small blisters that gradually crust and erode - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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