Impetigo

How to treat impetigo and impetigo symtoms. Impetigo rash treatment at Peak Pharmacy | Pharmacy First
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What is Impetigo?

Impetigo is a highly contagious skin condition that causes blisters and sores. It occurs when the skin becomes infected with bacteria.

It is a very common skin infection in young children but can affect people of all ages. It isn’t usually serious and generally improves within a week of treatment or within a few weeks if left untreated.

The bacteria can be spread easily through close contact with an infected person through direct contact or by sharing towels and flannels.

There are no symptoms until four to ten days after exposure to the bacteria, so it is often spread to others unintentionally.

The most common type of impetigo is non-bullous.

What are the symptoms of Non-bullous Impetigo?

Non-bullous impetigo begins with red sores, which are usually around the mouth and nose. Other areas of the face and limbs can also be affected.

The sores soon burst, leaving thick, golden crusts that are typically 2cm across. The crusts are sometimes likened to looking like cornflakes stuck to the skin.

The crusts dry, leaving a red mark that usually fades without scarring. It can take between a few days and a few weeks for the redness to fade.

The sores are not painful but may be itchy. Care should be taken not to touch or scratch the sores as this can spread the infection to other parts of the body or to other people.

In more severe cases there may be a high temperature or swollen glands.

When should I seek help?

Impetigo usually gets better in around two to three weeks without treatment.

Treatment is often recommended as it can reduce the length of the illness to a week to 10 days and lowers the risk of the infection spreading to others. 

How can I prevent the spread of impetigo?

It is important to take precautions to reduce the risk of impetigo spreading to other people, or other parts of the body, during treatment.

You are no longer contagious after 48 hours of treatment or once your sores have dried and healed. You should stay away from work, school or nursery until this point.

Other precautions you should take include:

  • Washing hands regularly, especially after touching infected skin
  • Avoiding sharing flannels, towels and bed linen with anyone with impetigo and wash them at high a temperature after use
  • Avoiding touching or scratching sores
  • Avoiding contact with newborn babies, preparing food, playing contact sports or going to the gym
  • Washing/wiping toys

How can Peak Pharmacy help?

Our Pharmacists can help people aged one year and over.

They will ask you about your medical history and other symptoms to exclude other conditions or complications that need urgent referral to your GP or other sources of help.

Our Pharmacist will consider if an antibiotic cream or antibiotics are needed. These can be provided by our Pharmacists without the need for a prescription from your doctor.

If you think the infection has spread to other people, recommend they see a Pharmacist promptly too.

Are there any patients Peak Pharmacists cannot give treatment to?

Our Pharmacists are not able to treat infants under the age of one or patients with bullous impetigo.

There may also be other factors in your medical history that mean our Pharmacists cannot issue treatment. If this applies to you or your child, our Pharmacist will refer you to your GP or another source of help and treatment.

* Our online consultations are carried out by one of our Pharmacists.