Impetigo is a common and highly contagious bacterial skin infection that affects the top layers of the skin. It can appear anywhere on the body but usually involves the skin of the face, arms, and legs. Impetigo can affect all ages, but it is most common in infants and children. Impetigo is caused by staphylococcal (staph) or streptococcal (strep) bacteria growing in the upper skin layers. It is usually spread from person to person, or from germs on something an infected person has touched (clothing, bedding, towels or other objects). The time from exposure to the germs and start of symptoms is typically 1 to 3 days. A person is contagious when the rash is crusting or oozing pus.
Symptoms of impetigo include red sores that break open ooze for a few days, and then form a yellowish-brown crust; itching; and painless, fluid-filled blisters. Infected areas appear in plaques ranging from dime to quarter size, starting as tiny blisters that break and expose moist, red skin. After a few days the infected area is covered with a grainy, golden crust that gradually spreads at the edges.
It is important to visit Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Treatment of oral or topical antibiotics is often indicated.*
To prevent impetigo, do not share towels, razors, or other personal care products. Athletes should avoid wrestling and other contact sports until the sores are healed.
This treatment is available at Healthcare Clinic locations for patients 18 months and older.
If you believe you have a medical emergency, please call 911.
1 Prescriptions written when clinically appropriate. Patients have a choice of pharmacy.
2 Service is available at Healthcare Clinic locations for patients 18 months and older.