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Impetigo

Impetigo is a common and highly contagious condition in children. Here we can see a boy with impetigo affecting large parts of his body.

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Impetigo is a common bacterial skin infection. It is easily spread from one person to another, and often is seen as an outbreak in families, daycares, and schools. The bacteria can be found normally on the surface of the skin, and in the nose or mouth. They do not usually cause harm unless they overpopulate a particular area or invade through an opening in the skin. Impetigo often develops around the nose or mouth, and in places where the skin is broken. For example, near a cut, a bug bite that is scratched, a patch of eczema, or a chickenpox lesion. Impetigo usually starts with one cut or sore on the skin. If the child scratches it, the sore may become infected with bacteria that are on the surface of the skin, or inside the mouth or nose. This causes the sore to become red, warm, and swollen, itchy, and sensitive to the touch. Small pus-filled blisters may appear, which eventually bursts open and form a golden yellow scab. If your child keeps scratching or picking at the sore, the infection can spread, creating new sores on other parts of the skin, usually near the original sore. Impetigo is usually found on the face, around the mouth or nose, and on the fingers. But it can also be found on other parts of the body where the child touches. The sores develop over the course of a few days and last several more days before forming scabs.