Impetigo is a common skin infection usually found in children and infants. It appears as single or multiple sores or blisters filled with fluid or pus, which pop easily and leave behind a reddish, raw-looking base and/or honey-colored crust. In most children, impetigo first appears near the nose and then spreads through scratching to other parts of the face, arms or legs. The blisters tend to be itchy.
There are three forms of impetigo:
Ordinary (nonbullous) Impetigo is caused by either Staphylococcal or Streptococcal bacteria. It appears as red sores that rupture quickly, ooze a fluid and then form a honey-colored crust. It primarily affects children from infancy to age two.
Bullous Impetigo appears as fluid-filled blisters that may become widespread, and is caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
Ecthyma often occurs as a result of neglected impetigo, and it penetrates more deeply into the skin than ordinary impetigo. It is characterized by sores or ulcers that are painful and/or fluid or pus-filled. These lesions most commonly appear on the legs or feet. The sores break open and scab with a hard yellow-gray crust. It can also cause swollen lymph glands in the affected area.
Impetigo is generally treated with a course of prescription oral antibiotics, with or without topical antibiotics. The sores tend to heal slowly, so it is important to complete the full course of prescribed medications. Please note that over-the-counter topical antibiotics (such as Neosporin) are usually not effective for treating impetigo.