What is impetigo?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Impetigo, a bacterial infection, is a contagious skin infection that's caused by strep or staph bacteria, or both. It appears as honey-colored crusty lesions and is often found around insect bites, as scratching abrades the skin and allows bacteria to enter. Scratching at bites spreads the infection all over the body.
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Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Impetigo is a contagious skin infection that typically occurs in infants and children. The infection usually is the result of bacteria entering the skin, and is seen as red sores around the nose and mouth.

Impetigo is a skin infection that commonly affects young children. Staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria naturally live on the skin, but in impetigo, they can enter the body through cuts and scrapes and infect the skin. Impetigo may also appear where there is no break on the skin. The infection is characterized by itchy sores that form on the skin, usually appearing near the nose and mouth, but also on the arms and legs. The sores then burst and become covered with a golden-colored crust. Impetigo is highly contagious, but rarely serious. Antibiotics will keep the infection at bay and allow you to quickly return to normal activities.

Continue Learning about Impetigo

Is impetigo contagious?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Impetigo is highly contagious. Impetigo can spread rapidly throughout the body after it first ap...
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Can adults get impetigo?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Impetigo most commonly afflicts infants and small children. However, adults can develop this ski...
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Should I talk to my doctor about my impetigo symptoms?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Yes, talk to a doctor if you have symptoms of impetigo, such as sores, blisters, and crusts. It will...
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How do I manage my impetigo on a daily basis?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
If you have impetigo, your doctor may prescribe a skin ointment containing an antibiotic. Antibi...
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.