Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
What is Infantigo?
It is a common bacterial skin infection that can affect anyone of any age, race, or gender but is most commonly found in children between the ages of two and six years of age. It is also known as school sores and Impetigo. There are two types of infantigo, which are:
- Non-bullous infantigo – this means “crusted infantigo” and is usually the most common type found.
- Bullous infantigo – this means “large blister.”
One of the first signs of infantigo is the pimple-lesions that are usually surrounded by skin that has a redden look to it. Over the next four to six days these lesions will fill with pus and then begin to break down. After this time they will form a thick crust.
Infantigo is itchy so you want to make sure that you do not scratch and spread the infection. The lesions or rash of infantigo will usually appear on your neck, hands, diaper area, and face although it can appear on any part of your body. They will usually increase in size and how many there are. They can range in size from pimple size to being larger than a coin.
It is caused by bacteria that enter your bloodstream. The two bacteria that can cause infantigo are:
- Streptococcus pyogenes (strep)
- Staphylococcus aureus (staph) which is the most common cause of infantigo.
Strep and staph germs can live on your skin without harming you. If an adult contacts infantigo it is usually because they have a cut or break in the skin that allows either of these germs to get into your skin cells. A child gets infantigo in a similar manner but is usually through not only a cut but through an insect bite or scrape.
If there is an ongoing rash that causes open sores on your skin, like poison oak or ivy, the bacteria can penetrate the skin’s barrier. It is even possible to get it because the child has diaper rash. You can even get infantigo through direct contact even if you have healthy skin.
You can get it from touching toys, towels, or bed linens of children who have it. There is even a possibility that you can get it if an infected person sneezes on your or around you.
To help with the itch it is best to find a good skin cream or anti-itch cream. The most common method of treatment for infantigo is to see your physician to get an oral antibiotic or topical cream. If you are given an oral antibiotic you will have to take it for seven to ten days. Once you have started taking the antibiotic you the healing should start in a couple of days.
Make sure that you take all the antibiotics as prescribed and finish the prescription. When it starts to heal you can gently start to wash the areas that are infected with antiseptic soap and clean gauze. If there are any areas of crusted sores do not pick the scabs off.
You can just soak any of these areas in soapy water that is warm but it is not necessary to remove the entire scab.
To help keep it from spreading to other parts of their body or to other children and adults keep their fingernails short and clean to help keep them from scratching.
You should also make sure that you are keeping the infected area covered with a loose plastic bandage or gauze and tape. If you touch any infected area make sure that you are washing your hands in hot soapy water before touching any thing else.
Is Infantigo contagious?
Yes it is very contagious and can spread to anyone who comes in contact with someone who has it or with anything that the infectious person has tough.
If you are on antibiotics or some other form of treatment the child can go back to school or daycare after being on the treatment for twenty-four hours. If you are an adult you should also have twenty-four hours of treatment before returning to work.