Font Size


Impetigo Overview

Impetigo is a common type of skin infection. Picking at sores or scratching itchy bites may allow the bacteria which cause impetigo to enter the skin.

  • Bacteria may enter through some sort of break in the skin. Typically the break in the skin is obvious (such as a skinned knee or a cut or even an insect bite), but even very small, microscopic breaks may allow for bacteria to enter.
  • Once the bacteria get into the inner layers of the skin, they grow and multiply, creating a blister. Usually, this blister becomes filled with pus and bursts, leaving a crust. It is this blistering and crusting which is typical of impetigo.
  • There are two common forms of impetigo, referred to as bullous and nonbullous.
    • Bullous impetigo is less common and is only caused by staphylococci. Typically this form results in the formation of larger blisters.
    • Nonbullous impetigo is most common and is generally caused by a mild traumatic break in the skin and can be caused by two types of bacteria, streptococci or staphylococci. It results in the formation of smaller blisters.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/22/2014
Next Page:

Must Read Articles Related to Impetigo

MRSA Infection Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is an infection that shows resistance to many antibiotics. Symptoms and signs include pus production and itching in ...learn more >>
Skin Rashes in Children
Skin Rashes in Children Skin rashes in children may be categorized as bacterial, viral, life-threatening, fungal, and parasitic rashes. Oftentimes, the associated symptoms help establi...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Impetigo:

Impetigo - Treatment

What was the treatment for your impetigo?

Impetigo - Length Symptoms Lasted

How long did the symptoms of your impetigo last? Was there anything in particular that helped with pain/symptom relief?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Impetigo »

Impetigo is a highly contagious gram-positive bacterial infection of the superficial layers of the epidermis.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary