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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Impetigo is a bacterial infection of the skin that appears most frequently in warm humid environments.  Most commonly occurs on the face but can occur anywhere.  Symptoms of an infection include:

  • Itching, mild pain.
  • Single or grouped red, itchy, scaly areas on the skin.  Some occur as blisters or with yellow crusting.

Impetigo is very contagious and is spread by touch from one person to another. A person with impetigo can also spread the infection from one spot on the body to another by touching themselves. Personal hygiene does not affect a person's likelihood of developing impetigo, nor should impetigo be viewed as an indication of poor hygiene.

Treatment for impetigo is fairly simple: Impetigo lesions should be washed with a mild soap in the morning and evening. Gentle washing will usually be enough to remove the crusts; vigorous washing can delay healing and spread the infection. Antibiotic ointment is applied lightly over the lesions. Occasionally, oral antibiotics are prescribed.