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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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Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

My daughter is now eight and was first diagnosed with impetigo nearly 3 years ago. Fucidin, and Bactroban didn't work. Floxocillin will clear it up, but it comes back after a few weeks. Floxocillin has to be taken 4 times a day on an empty stomach, which proves very stressful as it doesn't leave much time in the day when your child can eat. Also each outbreak seemed to be worse that the last. After 18 months and several rounds of treatment from the GP, and leaving the surgery with a distressed child again, as she didn't want another week of fighting about food, I went to a homeopath. After 6 months of the homeopathic remedies she was only getting small spots of impetigo which cleared up in a couple of weeks. This was when we finally got to see an NHS dermatologist, who didn't believe me about the outbreaks because she was taking the homeopathic stuff so the sores she had at the time just looked like a graze. She was clear for a while and I thought we had beaten it. Unfortunately she has now got a bad outbreak again and I think we're going to have to go back to the GP for antibiotics. She has never passed it to myself or my husband, or anyone at school. Everything I've read about impetigo says that it's highly contagious and clears up with antibiotics. The experts don't tell you that it's going to keep coming back for ever. She has a bath or shower every night, so I don't understand why it won't just go away.





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Hello, am 21 years old have keep getting impetigo the first time I got it was on my face and it was a big yellow blister, I got a cream for it from my doctor then after that it went to different parts of my body it went away for a while but now it's came back and it's gave me a lump inside my lip and yet again I've got cream for it how do ingest rid of this infection? I've had antibiotics and nothing is working





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I initially got it in April. Ever since then I've had at least 6 outbreaks. It's now end of October. So if a 6 month period I've had it 6 times. And frankly right now the outbreak is after a few weeks of coming off of antibiotics for my last outbreak. I'm 19, in college and I feel disgusted at myself whenever I have an outbreak. It's all over my lips, top and bottom. It's gross, crusty and yellow. I hate it. I just feel so hopeless. Does anyone know anything?





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I'm 19 years old and was dignosed with this when I was 17. The doctors kept telling me I was having allergic reactions to all different types of medicine, foods, and etc. I watched everything I did, 2 years ago I got pink eye and was on drops which had sulfate in it. The drops seemed to make my eyes worse, I started getting red, pus, yellow crust around my eyes and above and below, I would stay home from school for days sometimes weeks, missed work, spent a lot of time in the ER, and they dignosed me with a sulfate allergy. After that I watched everything I used that had sulfate in it and I cut that out of my life. I was still having this flare ups on my face, they wouldn't go away. Back in the doctor for more tests. Still nothing. They kept putting me on steroid pills. Usually you are supposed to use steroid pills 3 times a year, I'm on dose 10. Every time after I flare up even worse than before. For months my mom has been saying you could have a staph infection. I thought I would give it a try and say something to the doctor. Yesterday I went to the doctor, and mentioned it to her. My face was red, puss was coming out of the blisters, yellow-honey crust on my chin, mouth, sides of my face, forehead, you name it, it was on my face. They dignosed me with impetigo, after the doctor appointment I was reading about it online. Everything I have and have had for the past 2 years has been described as a staph infection of impetigo. They put me on a aqua cream and 2 times day for 10 days pills. So far, day 2 and my face is clearing up. Hopefully I found some answers, and they will stop telling me I am allergic to everything. Maybe this whole time I've been carrying a staph infection...





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Hi, I am in the same boat as all of you. I don't know that there is a way out of this icky, yellow mess. I've had it for two decades now. The only thing that helped slightly is sea buckthorn seed oil pills. Something else I'd encourage you to research is on youtube Udo ERazmus 3.6.9 oil. I've seen some improvement in understanding oils but pretty much I'm still a walking leper. Also, I want to encourage you to check out a website dedicated to whatever it is we have- is it MRSA? Is it Impetigo? Is it leprosy? I don't know. Anyway, here's the site www oozing yellow crusts com





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I came back from holiday had rash all over my neck and chin Dr said it was empetigo gave me 500mg flucloxacillan take 4 times day my skin feels so tight on neck is there a cream I can put on like a moisturiser.also should I keep piece gauze on to keep cleam, am 58yrs old never had before





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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


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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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