What is impetigo?

Impetigo is a very common skin infection caused by streptococcal or staphylococcal bacteria.

  • The bacteria enter the body where there is an opening on the skin caused by a cut, insect bite or a burn.
  • The site may ooze from an easily disturbed honey-colored crust.
  • The infection can spread to other areas of the skin.
  • Impetigo occurs most often on the face and arms and legs.
  • When impetigo is caused by streptococcal bacteria, kidney disease can develop.
  • Impetigo is most commonly seen in warm weather.

How does impetigo spread?

  • Normally the skin protects the body from infection, but when there is a break in the skin, bacteria can enter and cause an infection.
  • Young children often have cuts and scrapes on their body making them more vulnerable to impetigo than adults.
  • The infection is spread by direct contact with the skin surface of someone who is infected with the bacteria.

How long are people with impetigo contagious?

The skin sores of impetigo develop in 7 to 10 days after the bacteria enter the skin.

What can parents and childcare providers do?

  • Consult your health provider for treatment.
  • Keep the infected area clean by washing with soap and water.
  • Keep the infected area covered loosely during the day to avoid coming in direct contact with other children/staff while allowing the sore to stay dry.
    • Plastic backed bandages should be avoided.
  • Wash hands after direct contact with sores, disposing of bandages carefully.

When must people with impetigo be excluded from a childcare facility?

If a suspected impetigo rash is noticed on staff or a child, wash the area with soap and water and cover it. Notify parents when they come to pick up the child.

The staff or child can return after using antibiotic medication for 48 hours.

Where can I get more information?

Contact your physician or the Southern Nevada Health District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.

Contact Information

(702) 759-1000

Updated on: August 20, 2018

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