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Symptoms and Signs of Impetigo

Doctor's Notes on Impetigo

Impetigo is a contagious bacterial skin infection that usually affects children. It often begins when a child scratches at insect bites. There are two types; bullous and nonbulllous. Signs and symptoms include a rash, blister-like and have a honey-colored crust – the rash is sometimes mildly painful and itchy. Bullous type is less common and produce larger blisters.

Causes of impetigo are usually skin breaks from scratching and allow mainly staphylococci to enter the skin (bullous type) while the same situation occurs for the nonbullous type but the skin can be infected with streptococci or staphylococci.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Impetigo Symptoms

Impetigo appears as a rash that may occur anywhere on the body and but commonly affects the face and other exposed areas.

  • The rash may be blister-like, reddish, and have a honey-colored crust, or will have a combination of all three.
  • The margins of the rash are usually fairly sharp.
  • The rash is sometimes mildly painful and is itchy.

Impetigo Causes

As mentioned above, two main types of bacteria cause impetigo: Streptococcus and Staphylococcus organisms. Both are commonly found in the environment and on the surface of many people's skin. Group A Streptococcus is the most common cause of impetigo. This is the same organism that causes strep throat and can be spread directly from person to person or through contact with contaminated objects.

Common Childhood Skin Disorders Slideshow

Common Childhood Skin Disorders  Slideshow

Finding a bump, rash, red mark, or welt on a child's body is more common than not finding one. Most of these are not worrisome; however, some may be more concerning than others. We will present some information about common skin findings in this slide presentation to help patient's better identify them. As always, if there is any concern, always consult the child's doctor to be sure.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.