Impetigo

Impetigo occurs as honey-colored crust from a staphylococcal bacterial infection.  When the yellow crust is removed, the skin underneath appears smooth, red, and shiny.  Impetigo often appears in a circular pattern.  Rarely, impetigo can be caused by strep.  In these cases of strep bacterial infection, enlarged lymph nodes are common.   Impetigo often affects children early in life, although adults may also be affected.  Impetigo is more common in warm and moist environments, especially during hot, humid summer months.  Impetigo most commonly occurs around the nose and mouth, but may occur elsewhere on the body. Other common areas of involvement include the hands, neck, and extremities.  Fingernails, pets, crowded housing, and daycare can harbor the bacteria.  Staph is commonly found in the nostrils or the perianal area by those affected by impetigo.   Impetigo can be highly contagious and should be treated.  Treatment consists of both topical and oral antibiotics.  Mupirocin ointment is commonly used on the areas of treatment.  Antibiotic coverage is usually continued for at least one week and is broad enough to cover community-acquired MRSA (a staph infection resistant to some families of antibiotics).