What is impetigo?

Impetigo is a superficial bacterial infection caused by group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus or staphylococcus aureus. It is common among pre-school aged children, particularly those in frequent contact with other children in kindergartens. Impetigo can also appear in adults, more likely on damaged skin, eczema, insect bites, burns etc.

What are the symptoms of impetigo?

Early symptoms include skin redness, with blisters, which soon become yellowish and are easily broken, turning into honey-colored scabs. Changes quickly spread peripherally, and there is no scarring after the scabs fall of. Skin changes are primarily present on the face or hands, but can also appear along with skin changes caused by atopic dermatitis, acne or insect bites. General symptoms of infection are not common, and local enlargement of lymph nodes is possible. Acute glomerulonephritis is a very rare complication in widespread streptococcus infection.

How is impetigo treated?

It can be diagnosed in a clinical examination, or a bacterial swab is taken from the skin changes to identify the cause. The skin should be washed gently with soap and water, in order to prevent the infection from spreading further, and application of an antibiotic cream is advised. In widespread lesions, systemic antibiotics are prescribed to prevent complications. When hygienic measures and treatment are adequately followed, the disease subsides within 7 days. Impetigo is highly contagious, and measures should be taken to prevent infection among family members or other children or adults.

Spec. Dr. Sladjana Cvejic, dermatologist
Dermatological clinic DERMATIM, Belgrade