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What is impetigo?

Impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection caused by bacteria called group A streptococcal (strep) or Staphylococcus aureus (staph). The infection happens when the bacteria get into scrapes and insect bites.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Signs and symptoms are commonly developed 7 to 10 days after bacteria attach to the skin and include:

  • Pustules or crusted rash on face or exposed parts of the body (arms and/or legs).
  • Can be itchy, and scratching will spread the infection.

How is it spread?

Impetigo can be spread:

  • From person-to-person through direct skin contact with wounds or discharges from the infected area.
  • By touching contaminated hands, surfaces, or objects.

How long is it contagious?

Impetigo is contagious from the onset of symptoms until 24 hours after start of treatment with antibiotics.

Should I see a health care provider?

Yes, contact your health care provider if you think you or your child has impetigo.