Impetigo

Impetigo

Chris Schach

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Key Points
*Skin infection typically affecting children
*Caused by an infection by the bacteria streptococcus pyogenes and/or staphylococcus aureus
*Usually occurs at the site of a minor break in the skin
*Consists of oozing round blisters and pustules, which eventually form a characteristic gold colored crust

Impetigo is a rather common skin infection. It consists of oozing, round lesions and pustules, which grow larger as the condition progresses. This may be accompanied by the formation of clear blisters or yellow crusting of lesions. Impetigo typically affects areas such as the hands and face, and skin folds, such as the armpits.

Impetigo is caused by an infection by the bacteria streptococcus pyogenes and/or staphylococcus aureus. Infection usually occurs through a small break in the skin, such as an insect bite. Those persons who come into contact with others with Impetigo or Boils may be at an increased risk to develop infection. The condition typically affects children, and is contagious.

Differential Diagnosis (Other conditions with similar appearance)
Burns
Scabies
Varicella
Contact Dermatitis
Herpes simplex Virus Infection
Pediculosis (Lice)

Diagnosis
Key Points
*Diagnosis based on appearance of the affected area
*Cultures and sensitivity testing may be performed to confirm diagnosis and determine the causal agent

Impetigo is diagnosed based on the appearance of the affected area. In some cases, cultures and sensitivity testing may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and to determine the causal agent.

Treatment
*Treatment predicated on the level of involvement and severity of infection
*Goal of treatment is to eliminate infection and reduce symptoms
*In mild cases, Topical medications may be used to treat the infection
*Severe cases may require orally administered medications

Treatment of Impetigo is predicated on the level of skin involvement and the severity of infection. Proper care of the area is key, and vinegar/water compresses are recommended to treat moist or crusted lesions. Topical medications such as antiseptic creams and antibiotic ointments may be prescribed to treat infection and reduce symptoms. In severe cases, oral Antibiotics may be used. Unfortunately, reinfection is common, and it is recommended that antibiotic Cleansers be used to prevent recurrence, other persons in close contact with the affected be treated, and  antibiotic ointments (such as Mupirocin) can be applied to the nostrils to prevent reinfection.

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