Impetigo In Children: Frequently Asked Questions

You have recently noticed a new rash around your child's mouth and have tried several over-the-counter creams to eliminate it. However, the cause of the rash and sores might be something called impetigo, which is a common condition that requires the assistance of your child's pediatrician. Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions you might have about your child's impetigo.

What Is Impetigo?

Impetigo is a skin infection that is caused by either exposure to staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria. These bacteria are often found on your child's skin and up their nose or in their throat. However, when your child suffers a scrape, cut, or another open wound on the face, the bacteria can invade the wound and cause an outbreak of impetigo.

Although impetigo is typically found on the face, particularly around the mouth or under the nose, outbreaks of the rash can occur on other parts of the body. For example, if you have a baby, impetigo can occur because of abrasions and irritation caused by diaper rash.

What Are the Symptoms of Impetigo?

Your child will suffer from one of three types of impetigo: non-bullous, bullous, or ecthyma. The type of impetigo will determine the signs and symptoms. For example, if your child has ecthyma impetigo, the impetigo will look like small sores that are crusted yellow. These sores can be very painful and can burst. Non-bullous impetigo is more common and is characterized by red sores that can also burst.

In addition to the sores, the impetigo can also be painful and itchy.

How Will My Pediatrician Treat Impetigo?

If you suspect your child has impetigo, take your child to the pediatrician immediately for treatment. After an examination, some tests, and a medical history, your pediatrician will typically treat the impetigo infection with antibiotics. The type of antibiotics and the course will depend upon the type of impetigo your child is diagnosed with.

In addition to treatment with antibiotics, you can use over-the-counter ointments and apply cold compresses to the affected area to help your child find relief.

How Can I Prevent Impetigo in the Future?

The best way to prevent future outbreaks of impetigo is to keep your child's face clean and to cover any abrasions, cuts, or other sores. Encourage your child to wash their hands and take your child immediately to the pediatrician at the first sign of an impetigo infection.

Impetigo is a common skin infection that can be easily treated. Contact your pediatrician with any questions you might have about impetigo.