Infantigo also called impetigo is a bacterial skin infection which is very contagious. Although adults can develop impetigo, it is more common among younger children, especially those under the age of six. The infection typically occurs when the streptococcal bacteria or the staphylococcal bacteria enters the skin through openings such as cuts, scrapes and insect bites but it can also affect healthy skin. After penetrating the top level of the skin, these bacteria spread and cause blisters. These blisters are filled with pus and burst leaving a yellowish crust.
The bacteria thrives in crowded settings and in warmer weather. It can spread quickly in school and daycare environments and also in sports with close physical contact such as wrestling. Impetigo is highly contagious in the early stages of the infection and the infected person can spread it to others before displaying any symptoms of infantigo.
Also know as impetigo contagiosa, non-bullous impetigo is the most common type of infantigo. It usually appears on the face around the nose and mouth and starts off as a red sore. The sore will burst and ooze pus or liquid which forms a honey colored crust. After a while, the crust will go away and leave a red mark that will heal. Although the sores are not painful, there may be itchiness. You should avoid scratching the sores as the infection is highly contagious and can spread to other parts of the body.
This type of impetigo generally affects younger children and usually appears on the extremities as liquid-filled blisters. The blisters will eventually burst and form a yellowish crust.
A more serious type of impetigo, ecthyma occurs when the bacteria penetrates the second layer of the skin. As opposed to the other forms of impetigo, the sores can be painful and develop into deep ulcers. Once the sores burst, it will form a crust which is more grayish than the other types.
Because impetigo is a bacterial infection which can cause further complications, it should be treated as soon as symptoms develop. Keeping the infected skin area clean and applying topical antibiotics or taking antibiotics orally can prevent the infection from spreading.