Impetigo is a common and highly contagious skin infection that causes sores and blisters. It’s not usually serious and often improves within a week of treatment or within a few weeks without treatment.
Impetigo is the most common skin infection in young children in the UK, but it can affect people of all ages.
Impetigo occurs when the skin becomes infected with bacteria, usually either Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes.
The bacteria can infect the skin in two main ways:
- Through a break in otherwise healthy skin – such as a cut, insect bite or other injury – this is known as primary impetigo
- Through skin damaged by another underlying skin condition, such as head lice, scabies or eczema – this is known as secondary impetigo