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Is Impetigo Contagious

Updated on February 26, 2010

When it comes to some common infections that affect children, the name of impetigo tops the list. There are many concerned persons who ask frequently ask doctors the question- Is Impetigo contagious? The answer is yes and the infection spreads from direct contact with someone that has it. It can be spread from towels, toys, clothing or any household items. This is the reason why children fall prey to this infection easily. In order to under impetigo and why it is contagious you must understand the causes of it.

Impetigo is caused by the Group A streptococcus. This is a bacteria is found commonly in the skin, nose, and throat of many people. Recent medical studies have estimated that as many as 25 percent of people may be carrying this bacteria in their throats without having any visible symptoms. This infection occurs when there is a break in the skin to allow bacteria to enter the person. In the case of small children, it is common for them to have runny noses. Since they are very small they cannot wipe their noses themselves and in such cases the nasal mucous breaks down the skin which allows for the streptococcus to enter and cause infection.

Another cause of impetigo is diaper rash that results in skin breakdown. This infection also occurs in older kids as well. The environment is rich in bacteria and this is the reason why children are so susceptible to it. Children are very accident prone and are very active and it is for this reason why the combination of cuts and bacteria lead to this skin infection. Once infected impetigo often spreads to other parts of the body and causes irritation to the person.

The common places of impetigo are below the nose and around the mouth. This infection has a crusty honey colored appearance in the facial areas. The infection is contagious as it can be spread thorough direct and indirect physical contact. Adults often are infected with impetigo from being in close contact with infected children. The heat, humidity, and the presence of eczema may also cause a person to get infected with impetigo and there are cases where the bacterium that resides in the nose spreads from there to the other parts of the skin.

The severity of impetigo differs from person to person. When it occurs you must seek immediate medical treatment. The treatment for the infection depends upon how severe it is. Most cases of impetigo can be treated with a topical antibiotic ointment. If there are multiple sites of infection or if the infection covers a large portion of the body the administration of oral antibiotics may be required. This infection is very similar to strep throat infections and a child is considered to be contagious up to 24 hours till he or she is administrated antibiotics.

In case a child or any person is infected with impetigo it is advised that he or she should refrain from physical contact with other people. This will ensure that the infection does not spread. Thus, the answer to the question – Is impetigo contagious? is yes and in event of contracting it you must get medicine advice immediately.


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