WHAT causes impetigo and what precautions are needed to stop others being infected?
Impetigo or school sores is a skin infection caused by common bacteria. These bacteria can live on the skin, in the throat or nose, or on other parts of the body without causing a problem. But when the skin has already been damaged by a scratch, bite or eczema then impetigo can occur.
Because the sore is itchy children scratch and infect nearby skin or other parts of their own body. Contact with the sore or with things that have been on the sore (e.g. clothing, dressings, towels, etc) can spread the infection to other people. A sore can be infectious as long as it is weeping.
To avoid spreading to others cover the sores until they are completely healed with a dressing or plaster. Cut your children’s nails short and ask them to wash their hands regularly. Use a gentle antibacterial soap in the bath or shower to wash the sores daily and gently remove the crusts with a face towel. Also wash your child’s clothes, towels and bed linen separately from the rest of the family and always wash in hot water.