Self-Care at Home for Impetigo
- Clean all sores and bites with antibacterial soap and water. Don't scratch or pick.
- The infection is contagious. Use separate washcloths, razors, and hand towels.
- Often, the rash and infection will go away on its own, but antibiotics are usually needed to get rid of the infection.
- Apply antibacterial ointment, but wash hands well after applying it.
- If the sores are in areas that are shaved (men on their face; women on their legs), shave around the sores to avoid spreading the infection further.
The physician will typically prescribe oral or topical antibiotics or both.
- Topical: Topical antibiotic treatment is with a prescription-strength medication called mupirocin (Bactroban). Most nonprescription antibiotic ointments, such as Neosporin, are not effective. This is generally the first line of treatment for nonbullous impetigo, localized to a single area
- Oral: Usually oral antibiotics are reserved for more serious cases of impetigo, including bullous impetigo. The most common types of antibiotics taken as pills are types of penicillin or related medications called cephalosporins. If someone has a penicillin allergy, the treatment is usually with erythromycin (or other similar medicines such as clarithromycin [Biaxin] or azithromycin [Zithromax]). For some infections caused by resistant bacteria, clindamycin or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim) may be required.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/16/2015
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