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Impetigo - Topic Overview

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At home, gently wash the sores with soap and water each day. If crusts form, your doctor may advise you to soften or remove the crusts. You can do this by soaking them in warm water and patting them dry. This can help the cream or ointment work better.

After you touch the area, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Try not to scratch the sores, because scratching can spread the infection to other parts of the body. You can help prevent scratching by keeping your child's fingernails short.

Call your doctor if you do not get better as expected or if you notice any signs that the infection is getting worse, such as fever, increased pain, swelling, warmth, redness, or pus.

How can impetigo be prevented?

If you know someone who has impetigo, try to avoid close contact with that person until his or her infection has gone away. Do not share towels, sheets, or clothes until the infection is gone. Wash anything that may have touched the infected area.

If you or your child has impetigo, scratching the sores can spread the infection to other areas of your body and to other people. Wash your or your child's hands with soap to help prevent spreading the infection.

If your child has a cut or insect bite, covering it with antibiotic ointment or cream can help prevent impetigo.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

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