Treatment is recommended for impetigo as it will get rid of the infection more quickly, and, as it is a contagious condition, it reduces the risk of you spreading it to other parts of your body or other people.
Here we will take a closer look at how to deal with the condition.
How is impetigo treated?
Antibiotics are usually prescribed to treat impetigo, either as a cream (that you apply directly to the sores) or in tablet form.
Impetigo cream is usually recommended for mild cases of the infection. There are a number of recommended steps to take when using an impetigo antibiotic cream:
- With clean hands, or sterile gloves, and if it’s not too painful, carefully remove the skin crusts off the skin using warm, soapy water, to allow the cream to penetrate into the skin.
- Apply the cream to the infected area and the skin around it. Wash your hands immediately after applying the cream.
Your doctor will let you know how long you should do this for, and how often, but it is usually 2-3 times a day, for 7- 10 days.
This treatment will usually clear up impetigo within a week to 10 days, with symptoms showing signs of improvement after approximately four days. It should stop being contagious 48 hours after treatment.
If this doesn’t work, or if the infection continues to spread, speak to a GP again, as you may need further treatment. You may also need further treatment if you have other symptoms, such as a temperature. A doctor may recommend an oral antibiotic, alongside the cream to treat the condition.
The tablets will typically need to be taken for up to seven days and it is important to finish the full course that are prescribed, even if your symptoms improve. Penicillin (or an alternative if you are allergic) may be added to your treatment plan if your impetigo is due to a streptococcal infection.
Other conditions that can cause impetigo
Underlying conditions can sometimes lead to secondary impetigo, including head lice, eczema or other skin conditions that leave open sores on your skin, where the bacteria can get in. If the impetigo was caused by something else, this will also need to be treated. A doctor will be able to recommend a treatment for this as well as the impetigo.
- Dr Mary Harding . Patient Info, Impetigo, 11/02/2016.
- NHS Inform, Impetigo, 01/05/2018.
- American Family Physician, Impetigo: What You Should Know, 15/03/2007.
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Impetigo, 15/03/2007.