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Impetigo

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
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Impetigo »

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

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