Impetigo

Definition

Impetigo is a skin infection. It often appears as blisters around the mouth and nose, but it can infect skin anywhere on the body. Impetigo can easily spread from one person to another. This infection occurs most often in children.
Impetigo: Sores on the Upper Lip
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Causes

Impetigo is caused by bacteria. The most common type of bacteria associated with this infection includes:
  • Group A Streptococcus
  • Staphylococcus
These types of bacteria are normally found on the skin and in the nose. The bacteria do not cause trouble until it gets under the skin. Bacteria get in under the skin through small cuts, scratches, or insect bites.

Risk Factors

This condition is more common in preschool and school-aged children. Factors that increase your chance for impetigo include:
  • Touching a person with impetigo
  • Touching the clothing, towels, sheets, or other personal items that belong to a person with impetigo
  • Poor hygiene, particularly unwashed hands and dirty fingernails
  • Crowded settings where there is direct person-to-person contact, such as schools and the military
  • Contact sports such as football and wrestling
  • Warm, humid environment
  • Summer season
  • Poor health or weakened immune system
  • Tendency to have skin problems such as eczema , poison ivy , or skin allergy
  • Cuts, scratches, insect bites , or other injury to the skin
  • Chickenpox
  • Lice infections which cause scratching, such as scabies , head lice , or pubic lice

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