Impetigo is a bacterial infection of the skin that commonly begins after the bacteria get into a break in the skin. The most common bacteria that cause impetigo include Group A Beta Hemolytic Streptococci (which also causes strep throat) and Staphylococcus aureus.
Impetigo is very contagious and your child will usually develop symptoms five to ten days after being exposed to someone else with impetigo. The symptoms usually consist of a honey colored crusted lesion that begin as tiny blisters. It is most common around the mouth and nose.
Another type of impetigo (bullous impetigo) causes large blisters to form that quickly break and leave a raw area of skin.
For small areas of infection an antibacterial ointment or cream may be the only treatment that is needed. An oral antibiotic will be needed for more extensive cases.
You should also gently wash the lesions with warm soapy water and keep the areas covered to prevent your child from picking at them and causing them to spread.
Impetigo is usually contagious for twenty four hours after starting antibiotics and you should keep your child away from others until that time.
If your child's impetigo isn't clearing up with usual treatments, he may be infected with a resistant bacteria called MRSA and may need different antibiotics.