Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection, most commonly found among pre-school children. It is often referred to as school sores.

What to look for?

The common form of impetigo is nonbullous impetigo. It begins as red sores near the nose or mouth which soon break, leaking pus or fluid and forms scabs, followed by red marks which heal without leaving scars. Sores are itchy but usually not painful.

Bullous impetigo, mainly seen in children younger than 2 years, involves painless, fluid filled blisters, mostly on arms, legs and trunk. Blisters will break and form scabs.

Impetigo generally appears as honey coloured scabs formed from dried serum.


Impetigo is primarily caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureas, and sometimes by Streptococcus pyogenes.


Take your child to the doctor as soon as you suspect impetigo. Your doctor will examine your child and may use a swab to send a sample of the sore to a lab for testing.

Your doctor may prescribe an antibotic ointment or cream to apply directly onto the affected areas for mild cases, and/or an antibiotic to take by mouth for more severe cases. Your doctor will also advise you how to bathe the sores.

Follow the treatment advised by your doctor carefully and make sure that you complete the course of antibiotics described.

Caring for Cold Sores

The sores should be washed and dressed as bellowed to lessen the chance of spreading the infection

  • Wash your hands well with soap and water
  • Dry your hands thoroughly, preferably with a disposable kitchen wipe
  • Wash the sore with warm water and soap, or a lotion suggested by your doctor, trying to gently bathe away the crusts
  • Wash your hands again using the method described above
  • Apply antibotic ointment (if prescribed) using a cotton wool swab
  • Cover the sores with watertight dressing during the daytime
  • Throw old dressings into a plastic bag and seal it before discarding
  • Wash your hands again

Prevention and Other Consideration

Impetigo is very contagious. Do not send your child with impetigo to school or pre-school until the treatment prescribed by your doctor has commenced and all the sores are covered with watertight dressings.

The child with impetigo should not use the same towels or linen as the rest of the family. Everyone in the family must be careful about hand washing. Try to stop your child from touching the sores as scratching may spread the lesions.

See the doctor again if the sores are not getting better or they are getting worse or your child seems unwell in any other way.





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