Impetigo, also known as ‘school sores’, is a highly contagious infection of the skin. It commonly affects children aged two to six, but can affect children and adults of all ages.
It’s caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, better known as “golden staph”, and Streptococcus pyogenes, commonly known as “strep”.
According to Dr Michael Tam and Dr Kristen Ochs: “Impetigo appears on the skin one to three days after being infected by staph, or four to ten days after catching strep. It can occur on sores from scratches, insect bites and eczema, or on healthy skin.”
The sores begin as red patches or small blisters and appear most commonly around the nose and mouth, and also on the arms and legs. Once the blisters form, they burst and weep before crusting over with a golden-coloured scab.
How do you get rid of school sores?
- If the sores are limited, frequently wash with soap and water. Sometimes an antibiotic ointment can be prescribed.
- If the sores are extensive, or there is a chance that cellulitis can develop, oral antibiotics are often necessary.
- According to Dr Tam and Dr Ochs, parents can speed up the healing process by removing the crusts two to three times a day.
- “This is done by soaking the skin in a warm bath, then wiping the scabs away gently with a clean face washer and patting dry with a fresh towel. Sores should be completely covered by waterproof bandages.”
- Prevent the infection from spreading by putting all towels, face washers, clothes and bed linen in a hot wash. A fresh towel and washer should be used by the infected person every time they bathe.