Impetigo is a skin infection caused by germs. It's most common in children and is contagious. Impetigo forms round, crusted, oozing spots that grow larger day by day. The hands and face are the favorite locations for impetigo, but it often appears on other parts of the body.
While the germs causing impetigo may have been caught from someone else with impetigo or boils, impetigo usually begins out of the blue without any apparent source of infection. Treatment Antibiotics taken by mouth usually clear up impetigo in four to five days. It's most important for the antibiotic to be taken faithfully until the prescribed supply is completely used up. In addition, an antibiotic ointment should be applied thinly four times a day.
Crusts should be removed before the ointment is applied. Soak a soft, clean cloth in a mixture of one-half cup of white vinegar and a quart of lukewarm water. Press this cloth on the crusts for 10 to 15 minutes three or four times a day for as long as you see crusting or oozing. Then gently wipe off the crusts and smear on a little antibiotic ointment. You can stop soaking the impetigo when crists no longer form. When the skin has healed, stop the antibiotic ointment. Contagion Impetigo is contagious when there is crusting or oozing. While it's contagious, take the following precautions: 1. Patients should avoid close contact with other people. 2. Children should be kept home from school for one or two days. 3. Use separate towels for the patient. His towels, pillowcases, and sheets should be changed after the first day of treatment. The patient's clothing should be changed and laundered daily for the first two days.
All these measures are only needed during the contagious--crusting or oozing--stage of impetigo. Usually the contagious period ends within two days after treatment starts. Then children can return to school and special laundering and other precautions can be stopped. If the impetigo doesn't heal in one week, please return for evaluation.