Impetigo is a very contagious skin infection that commonly affects young children. It appears as red sores around the mouth and nose. Sores may become scabbed appearing and have a honey-colored crusted drainage. Because impetigo spreads easily, it can be transferred to other areas of the body by scratching or touching.

Impetigo will generally improve quickly with treatment, but left untreated, may cause additional problems such as:

  • Cellulitis (skin infection)
  • Kidney problems
  • Scarring

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Impetigo will be treated with an antibiotic ointment, oral medication, or both. Children will need to stay home from school or childcare for at least 24 hours while beginning treatment. Wear gloves when applying antibiotic ointments and practice frequent handwashing.

To avoid further spread of impetigo, follow these measures:

  • Gently wash affected areas with mild soap and water
  • Don’t share linens or towels and wash all items in hot soapy water every day
  • Cut children’s nails short to avoid scratching

If you are worried your child may have impetigo, our healthcare providers can evaluate and recommend further treatment.