How is it treated?
antibiotics. For cases of mild impetigo, a doctor will
prescribe an antibiotic ointment or cream to put on the sores. For cases of
more serious impetigo, a doctor may also prescribe antibiotic pills.
After 3 days of treatment, you or your child should begin to get better.
A child can usually
return to school or daycare after 24 hours of
treatment.1 If you apply the ointment or take the pills exactly as prescribed,
most sores will be completely healed in 1 week.
At home, you
should gently wash the sores with soap and water before you apply the medicine.
If the sores are crusty, soak them in warm water for 15 minutes, scrub the
crusts with a washcloth to remove them, and pat the sores dry. Do not share
washcloths, towels, pillows, sheets, or clothes with others. And be sure to wash
these items in hot water before you use them again.
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 and covering sores with gauze or bandages.
Call your doctor
if an impetigo infection does not improve after 3 or 4 days 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. You should also avoid sharing towels, pillows, sheets,
clothes, toys, or other items with an infected person. If possible, wash all
shared items in hot water before you use them again.
If you or
your child has impetigo, scratching the sores can spread the infection to other
areas of your body and to other people. Keep the sores covered to help you
or your child resist scratching them. 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