Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria. These bacteria live on and in our bodies, such as on our skin and inside our nose, without causing harm. If there is a break in our skin such as a cut, scratch or eczema an infection can occur below the skin’s surface. Insect bites that are scratched with germy fingers are another common source of school sores.
This condition is commonly called school sores as it is highly contagious and easily spread between children at school.
Symptoms of impetigo/school sores
The sores themselves are itchy and red and look like little blisters. They can occur in clusters especially around the nose and mouth. A sticky yellow liquid emerges from the blisters when they pop. The blisters then crust over and eventually the crust falls off.
Treatment of impetigo/school sores
Mild cases can sometimes be treated with topical antibacterial creams/ointments.
Most often prescription antibiotic cream/ointment is needed and sometimes oral antibiotics are used.
Children should not attend school or child care unless they are being treated and every sore is covered with a dressing that completely covers the sore.
Important points about impetigo/school sores
Wash hands well with antibacterial soap and water if the sores are touched.
Don’t share towels.
Keep children’s nails short to prevent scratching and nose picking!
Covering the sores is important even when at home until the scab forms. This is to prevent the infection being transferred to other parts of the body through scratching/touching and transferring to other people.