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Contagious bacterial skin infection characterised by blisters that break and form yellow encrusted areas; touching the blisters usually spreads the infection
Persons most commonly affected: Babies and children of both sexes but can occur in older persons.
Organ or part of body involved: Skin on face and limbs.
Symptoms and indications: The infection starts as a red patch that forms pustules that join to create crusted yellowish sores. The contents of the sore are highly infections and easily spread by direct contact or via towels, etc. The scabs usually dry up, fall off and do not cause scarring.
Causes and risk factors: Usually a Staphylococcus bacterium, although, occasionally, a Streptococcus may be involved.
Prevention: Good hygiene practices in caring for your childís skin. This includes giving your child a daily bath or shower with soap and water. Pay special attention to areas of the skin that have been injured, such as cuts, scrapes, areas of eczema, and rashes caused by allergic reactions or poison ivy. Keep these areas clean and covered. If someone in your family already has impetigo, make sure that fingernails are cut short and that the impetigo sores are covered with gauze and tape. Prevent impetigo infection from spreading to other family members by using antibacterial soap and making sure that each family member uses a separate towel. If necessary, substitute paper towels for cloth ones until the impetigo is gone. Separate the childís bed linens, towels, and clothing from those of other family members, and wash these items in very hot water.