Impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection that is caused by bacteria. The condition usually affects children between the ages of 2 and 6 years old. Symptoms include itchy red sores that can develop anywhere on the body, but usually occur on the face. The sores open (rupture) after a few days and then develop a yellow-brown crust.
Risk factors for developing impetigo include age (children are at higher risk), living in crowded conditions, living in a warm or humid climate, playing sports with skin to skin contact, or having open skin sores. Impetigo spreads through contact with an infected person or an item that they have touched including clothes, bed sheets, towels, or toys.
A doctor usually diagnoses impetigo by closely looking at (examining) the skin. Many cases of impetigo get better and go away on their own. However, the use of antibiotics may be necessary to help the infection clear up more quickly. If your child has been diagnosed with impetigo, talk with their doctor about the treatment option that is best for them.