Impetigo is a contagious skin infection caused by bacteria. It develops when the bacteria, usually staph or strep, invade injured skin. A scrape on your skin is often enough to get infected. The bacteria may also get in through a cut, insect bite, or anything else that damages the skin. Once inside, the bacteria cause an infection in the top layers of the skin. Sometimes, the bacteria invade uninjured skin and cause impetigo.
What you see and feel differs with the type of impetigo.
There are several types of Impetigo, non-bullous, bulls and ecthyma. Non-bullous is the most common type. It starts with one or more sores, which are often itchy, the sores quickly burst, and the skin can be red or raw where the sores have broken open. Your glands near the sores may feel swollen and crusts, usually honey-colored, form. The skin heals without scarring, unless scratching cuts deep into the skin
The infection can spread to other areas of the body, where you’ll see this process begin all over again. This is one reason treatment is so important.
Bullous impetigo causes fluid-filled blisters, but without redness on the surrounding skin. When a person has bullous impetigo, you’ll see it progress as blisters that contain a cloudy or yellow fluid. The blisters become limp and transparent and then break open. A crusty sore can form where the blisters have broken open.
Ecthyma can develop when impetigo goes untreated because it goes deeper into the skin.
The difference is the blisters are painful and can turn into open sores that are deep. Thick crusts develop, often with redness on the surrounding skin
Because the infection goes deeper into the skin, you may see scars once the skin heals.
If notice any of these signs on your child’s skin (or your own skin), you should call your dermatologist and make an appointment for treatment.
All types of impetigo are very contagious. Treatment can help clear the infection and prevent the infection from spreading to others.