What is this rash?

Do you have a red rash with many small clustered blisters? When the blisters break open, does the oozing liquid form a honey colored crust? Is the rash mainly on your face, arms, and legs? Is it slightly itchy? If so, you may have Impetigo.


Impetigo is a contagious, common bacterial skin infection that affects the superficial layers of the skin. It is caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria (or a combination of the two). Colonization of the skin by these two bacteria is promoted by warm ambient temperatures, high humidity, presence of skin disruptions (a cut, eczema, insect bites, etc.), age, poor hygiene, and/or close physical contact with an infected person, to name a few.


Diagnosis is usually made by visual examination; however, skin cultures may be obtained to confirm the diagnosis.  If a small area is involved, treatment with topical antibiotics is usually effective. Oral antibiotics are usually used if the infection involves larger body areas or areas around the eyes.  If you are female using birth control use a back-up method (condoms) until next period.  Most cases will clear in 7 to 10 days once treatment is initiated.

1% Hydrocortisone cream may help to alleviate itching and promote drying of the lesions.


Self-care Measures:

Do not scratch impetigo blisters

Cleanse area with an antibacterial soap and use a clean towel with each cleansing.

 Urge family members and roommates to also use antibacterial soap to prevent the spread from you to them.

Change and wash clothing daily until the infection is resolved.

Cleanse your bathtub and sink after each use until the infection is resolved.

Avoid the use of oils on the skin.

Use a new razor with each shave and do not share razors with anyone.


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