Impetigo usually affects preschool- and school-age children, especially in the summer months. A child may be more likely to develop impetigo if his skin has already been irritated or injured by other skin problems, such as eczema, poison ivy, insect bites, or skin allergy to soap or makeup.
When impetigo is caused by Group A streptococcus, it begins as tiny blisters. These blisters eventually burst to reveal small wet patches of red skin that may weep fluid. Gradually, a tan or yellowish-brown crust covers the affected area, making it look like it has been coated with honey or brown sugar.
Impetigo that is not caused by Group A streptococcus is usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus. This type of impetigo may cause larger fluid-containing blisters that first appear clear, then cloudy. These blisters are more likely to stay intact longer on the skin without bursting.
Signs and Symptoms
Impetigo may affect skin anywhere on the body but commonly occurs in the area around the nose and mouth. Impetigo is characterized by blisters that may burst, ooze fluid, and develop a honey-colored crust.
Impetigo may itch, and it can be spread by scratching. The infection usually spreads along the edges of an affected area, but may also spread to other areas of the body.
Impetigo is contagious. Children can spread impetigo from one area of the body to another when they touch themselves with fingers that have been in contact with scratched, infected skin. When someone has impetigo, the infection can spread to other household members on clothing, towels, and bed linens that have touched the person's infected skin. It can also be spread among playmates or classmates who come in contact with infected skin.
Daycare.com would like to thank the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and their contributors for this information in striving to make daycare and childcare a more productive and efficient service.