Dr. M.J. Bazos, Patient Handout

About Your Diagnosis
Impetigo is a very common and mild skin infection. It is seen most frequently in children. It is caused by common skin bacteria, usually staph (staphylococci) or strep (streptococci). Impetigo is contagious and is frequently seen in brothers and sisters. It is curable with medication applied to the skin or with medication taken by mouth.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Impetigo usually starts as small red bumps or blisters. These can become large, especially in children. Drainage that appears honey crusted is common. If left untreated, impetigo can continue for weeks. Rarely kidney inflammation occurs after impetigo, causing blood or protein in the urine. (Seek medical attention if this occurs.)

Antibiotics applied to the skin or taken by mouth are used to treat impetigo. You can expect improvement in 5–10 days. Bactroban is an antibiotic ointment effective against impetigo. Wash the affected area and gently scrub off crusting and loose dead skin with a cloth. Dry off and apply a small amount of Bactroban. Do this three times per day. If you are given an antibiotic by mouth, take the entire prescription as directed by your doctor.

The DOs
• Maintain good hygiene. Bathe or shower at least once per day while infected with impetigo. Wash entire body with an antibacterial soap.
• Wash bedding, clothing, and towels frequently.
• Maintain good individual hygiene.
• Trim children’s nails if scratching is a problem.

The DON’Ts
• Over-the-counter medications are usually not helpful.
• Do not shave infected areas or anywhere that is red and inflamed.
• Don’t share washcloths, towels, or beds while infected with impetigo.
• Don’t break the blisters, and avoid scratching.

When to Call Your Doctor
• If not better in 7–10 days.
• If temperature of 101°F occurs in spite of treatment.
• If other family members become infected.
• If urine is discolored or there is blood in the urine.