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Conditions

Impetigo

Impetigo (Photo courtesy of CDC)

Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the skin, of which there are two types: bullous impetigo (which causes large, painless, fluid-filled blisters), and the more common non-bullous impetigo (which accounts for over 70% of cases and causes sores that quickly rupture leaving a yellow-brown crust.) The condition is most common in children, normally occurring between the ages of two and four. However, it can also affect adults, especially if they are living in a confined environment such as an army barracks…or the Big Brother house! Channele Hayes, the Wannabee WAG from BB8, expressed concern in the diary room that the unhygienic conditions in the famous house could lead to an outbreak of impetigo. And even troubled singer Amy Winehouse has reportedly been diagnosed with the condition (maybe she picked it up in the confines of rehab?) A seven-day treatment of antibiotic creams will usually do the trick, but oral antibiotics can also be used if the creams are ineffective.

If you’re suffering from any of the conditions featured on this site and want to apply for an onscreen consultation with one of the EB team then you can find more details here >>

Remember that you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.

If you are worried that your child may have impetigo, check our condition guide especially for parents on Embarrassing Bodies: Kids.

Watch our video and learn to detect those common and not so common rashes.

What the Men in White Coats Say

Comments and Questions

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Hey. I'm 22 years old and am always flaring up with impetigo. This has been reaccuring since I was 18 and u can't seem to pin point what causes it. Sometimes it comes back small others big. And it can vary when it comes back. I've been to the doctors but all they have said is there's nothing I cam do but have the cream in my bag just incase. I really want this problem to stop it really is affecting my self esteem now. And it's driving me crazy as I want to feel like I'm clean! Please has anyone had this and been able to stop it?!





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For the last 5 years now I've had outbreaks of impetigo on my chin a couple of times a year. The first time I think I picked it up at work. Each time it comes back it's a bit worse and takes a bit longer to go away. Last year it broke out when I was 39 weeks pregnant so I had it when I had my baby and it hung around for two weeks afterwards. It really gets me down and I don't leave the house if I can help it. It's so ugly and embarrassing. People think it's associated with being unclean but I'm not and never have been. This time I've had it a week and it's pretty much the worst it's been. I started cream on day 1 and oral antibiotics day 4. I'm just praying it clears up soon so I can kiss and cuddle my little girl again. I wouldn't wish this on anybody but it's kind of nice to know I'm not alone because it's pretty isolating tbh





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I had what looked like a pimple on the tip of my nose so I tried to Pop it. It was bright red gross skin the next day, and eventually had a gross yellow skin in the center. I went to the dr and am on antibiotic pills and ointment. It is now healing, but today I noticed another red spot a bit over from my impetigo. It looks like a pimple, but that's how my other spot looked. I've read a lot that this is how it starts. I washed it with antibacterial soap and put tea tree oil on it, and now have my antibacterial ointment on it. I'm trying to calm down but it is so hard. Do you think It could be a new spot even though I am on pills?





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my girlfriend has just been diagnosed with impetigo. She has had it for about a week now. We live together and sleep in the same bed, but i have yet to see any signs of impetigo on myself. Is this normal?? i am worried about my girlfriend most, its dropped her self esteem down a lot. She is, and always will be beautiful to me, no matter what. She is too embarrassed to go in public. Her breakout is white, and then a crusty yellow around her nose and left eye. Im seein that a lot of people get it back quite often. Is it something that will always come back after you get it the first time? i have so many questions. can a person be immune to impetigo? I am just really worried and Im going to do everything i can to help my girlfriend get through this. I just need some advice





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I've had it pop up 5 times now and never passed it on to my partner thank god. I think so long as you're careful- good hand washing, separate towels, clean bed linen etc-it doesnt seem to pass on. Or maybe we've been lucky so far. It can only get into your skin through a break anyway though it only needs a tiny one. It doesn't recurr for everyone. Some people only get it once. As far as what you can do, just be supportive and patient. That's all you can do really. Encourage her to eat well too. Plenty of fruit, veg and grains easy in the sweet, dairy and fatty stuff. It really does speed up healing when you eat well. Hopefully by now she's pretty much healed anyway. It is really upsetting and makes you feel absolutely horrible. It's great she has you to support her

EMUAID is the best topical treatment cream for impetigo. I am 24 years old and got impetigo in my early twenties I found that when I moved to Australia it got worse and I was getting it nearly every week. I think it had something to do with the heat. Anyway I searched and searched for years for something to try and get rid of it and used grapefruit seed oil and cold sore creams and antibiotics but nothing seemed to work. I came across EMUAID on the Internet, it is a little bit pricey but so worth it. I can't recommend this product enough, it works as soon as you put it on and it's gone the next day or max two days. I hope this helps Any one who's suffering from impetigo.





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I have been getting impetigo since I was about 8 years old, I am now 17 and have only just been diagnosed with the condition (however still they are not sure on whether it is impetigo or not), I have been getting the condition in the same place once every year or so and I have found it is mainly when I am stressed and have a low immune system, even though it is commonly known to be on your face mine comes up on the base of my neck which I find strange as I have not heard anyone who has had it on their neck before, it is really embarrassing and I have had it for about 2/3 weeks now, my antibiotics and cream did help it go down but I'm scared I might have some scarring.





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I've had impetigo since I was around 4 or 5 years old. I'm not sure how I contracted it, probably from kindergarten. I get it whenever my immune system is battling too many things at once or i'm really stressed out. Usually once or twice per year I've noticed. I used bactroban initially when I was younger. It was pretty ineffective. I've been using fucidin cream for years now and it has always done well. It kills of the bacteria within 4 days and starts healing rather quickly. I usually get it under my nose, around my lips. I actually just got my first 2015 outbreak on my upper lip/under the nose area. I think my seasonal allergies combined with having my period (hormonal changes) definitely triggered it. I'm only on day two, it's painful, blistering and embarrassing. I am hiding inside and trying to get some extra sleep. I do my best to wash my hands with hot water and keep separate towels to myself. I only wipe under my nose with disposable tissues.





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I seem to get it once to twice a year, also under my nose and around my mouth. I'm currently experiencing the worst I've had it's traveled from my upper lip, up my nose to my bridge and around the whole of one nostril. It has been so painful. I work in a hospital so have had to take time off sick, which is paining me badly. I'm now on day 7 and I have cuts and scabs which are trying to heal but I'm dying to get back to work, I've just had a promotion and this is the worst timing for this to happen. I think the promotion, work worries, my period coming and the time of the year has all triggered this. I want to go into work tomorrow I need to figure out a way to cover it up (the cuts). I have thought about using the cold sore plasters you can buy, they're semi transparent and you can apply make up over them. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Same problem. Get impetigo every three to five months. It appears under my nose or on the nose. Often around my eyes and on the neck. GP has been useless and i have had to drive the investigation. Swabs only showed scant staph in the nose and nowhere else. We have tried the decolonisation of the nose but it didn't help. I have no idea what else to try. I am 37 by the way and this has been happening since I was 18.





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Have you been put on a course of oral antibiotics - flucloxicillin? I'm 36 and battled it for many years with incorrect diagnoses from multiple doctors, did my own investigation, requested a 2 week course of flucloxicillin (at the time I had a large lesion that had been there for 6 week despite multiple antibiotic creams and doxycycline oral) and within 24 hours it began to improve, healed in 5 days.

In reply to Lisa's comment. Yes I have had fluclox tablets but just for one week. To be honest it still ran it's cycle even without them. Thus far the lesions are scabbing by around day four or five and drop off within two weeks. This leaves pink marks that take time to fade. I may ask for a longer course the next time it happens but how long have you been clear since taking them?

hi i keep getting impetigo under my breasts but nothing seems to be working to clear it is there anything anyone can recommand





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Hi, I also been getting impetigo since grade school I've yet to spread to others, but yesterday my baby daughter kiss me on the mouth where my outbreak is. I Hurried to wash her lips and hands with soap and water. I so hope that helps prevent her from being a victim of impetigo. What do someone do who has touched your sores,should they go see a doctor?





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Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the skin. There are two types of impetigo: Read More »

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