Impetigo is a common skin infection caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria.
How to spot it
Small blisters containing a pale fluid develop – most commonly on the face or around the nose, but they can appear anywhere on the body.
When they burst, they leave a yellowy crust on the skin – it can look like your child has a cornflake stuck to his face. The skin underneath may look red and inflamed.
The patches tend to be quite small and can be itchy.
Stop it spreading
Discourage your child from scratching the scabs as this can damage the skin further or spread the infection. Don’t share towels or flannels, and wash all linen on a boil cycle before using them again.
Favourite cuddly toys might need a bath too.
Impetigo is contagious so you may be asked to keep your child away from nursery until 48 hours after antibiotic treatment has started.
How to treat it
Get a proper diagnosis from your GP. If necessary, he will be prescribed a mild antibiotic cream. If the rash has spread and there are a few patches, he may need tablets.
When applying cream, first wash and dry the affected area, and your hands, carefully and dab it on gently. Make sure you wash your hands afterwards too, with hot soapy water.
The infection will clear up in 7-10 days.
It’s rare for impetigo to cause any problems other than an itchy rash for a few days. Be extra vigilant if your child has eczema, as already-damaged skin is more prone to infection.
In babies, impetigo may appear on the bottom if nappy rash has been a problem, but treatment is exactly the same.
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