Understanding Impetigo: Causes, Symptoms, and Risk Factors

Impetigo is a common bacterial skin infection that primarily affects children but can also occur in adults. It is highly contagious and characterised by red sores that quickly rupture, ooze fluid, and form a yellowish-brown crust. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and risk factors of impetigo is crucial for effective management and prevention of this condition.

What Causes Impetigo?

Impetigo is primarily caused by two types of bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. These bacteria can enter the skin through cuts, scratches, or insect bites, leading to infection. Impetigo is more likely to occur in warm, humid environments and in crowded settings where the bacteria can easily spread from person to person.

Symptoms of Impetigo:

Red Sores: These sores typically appear around the nose and mouth but can also develop on other parts of the body.

Blisters: The sores quickly develop into small blisters filled with fluid.

Crusting: The fluid-filled blisters burst, leaving behind a yellowish-brown crust.

Itching: The affected area may be itchy and uncomfortable.


Risk Factors for Impetigo:

Several factors can increase the risk of developing impetigo:

Age: Children between the ages of 2 and 6 are at higher risk due to their still-developing immune systems and close contact in daycare or school settings.

Crowded Conditions: Living in crowded environments or close contact with infected individuals increases the risk of transmission.

Poor Hygiene: Lack of proper hygiene, including infrequent handwashing, can contribute to the spread of impetigo.

Warm Weather: Impetigo is more common in warm, humid climates.

Skin Injuries: Cuts, scrapes, or insect bites provide entry points for bacteria, increasing the risk of infection.

How is Impetigo Transmitted?

Impetigo is highly contagious and can spread through direct contact with an infected person or by touching contaminated surfaces, such as towels, clothing, or bedding. Scratching or touching the affected area can also spread the infection to other parts of the body.

Who is Most Susceptible to Impetigo?

While impetigo can affect people of all ages, children are more susceptible due to their close contact in school or daycare settings. Individuals with weakened immune systems, pre-existing skin conditions, or who live in crowded or unsanitary conditions are also at higher risk.

impetigo in schools

How to Get Rid of Impetigo in 24 Hours?

While it’s not possible to completely cure impetigo within 24 hours, prompt treatment can help alleviate symptoms and prevent the spread of infection. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Generally, treatment may include:

Topical Antibiotics: Antibiotic ointments or creams can be applied directly to the affected area to kill the bacteria and promote healing.

Oral Antibiotics: In severe cases or if the infection has spread, oral antibiotics may be prescribed to eliminate the bacteria from the body.

Hygiene Measures: Keep the affected area clean and dry. Gently wash the sores with soap and water, and avoid scratching or picking at the crusts to prevent further spread of infection.

Isolation: If you or your child has impetigo, avoid close contact with others to prevent transmission until the infection has healed.

The NHS Pharmacy First Scheme

The NHS Pharmacy First Scheme offers a convenient and accessible platform for individuals seeking treatment for common ailments, including impetigo. Under this scheme, patients can receive advice, treatment, and medications for minor conditions directly from their local pharmacy without the need for a doctor’s appointment. This initiative not only reduces the burden on general practitioner services but also ensures timely access to necessary treatments, such as topical antibiotics for impetigo, promoting quicker recovery and improved healthcare outcomes for patients.

Get Impetigo Treatment

Impetigo is a common bacterial skin infection that can be easily transmitted, particularly amongst children. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and risk factors of impetigo is essential for effective management and prevention. Prompt treatment and proper hygiene measures can help alleviate symptoms and prevent the spread of infection. If you suspect you or your child has impetigo, consult with one of our pharmacists for proper diagnosis and treatment.


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This blog was written on behalf of G.M. Graham Pharmacies by Pharmacy Mentor.