Algoma Public Health


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What is it?

  • A skin infection caused by streptococcus (strep) and staphylococcus (staph) bacteria.
  • These bacteria are often found in the nose of healthy persons.
  • Common in children.

 What are the symptoms?

  • Cluster of blisters or red bumps.
  • Blisters ooze or may be covered with a honey-coloured crust.
  • Usually occurs around nose, mouth and other parts of the skin not covered by clothes.

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 How quickly do symptoms develop?

  • Within 1 – 3 days after coming in contact with strep.
  • Within 4 – 10 days after coming in contact with staph.

 How is it spread?

  • By infecting yourself.  e.g. Child wipes his runny nose with his hands, spreading bacteria to cracks around nose and mouth.
  • Person to person through contact with sores
  • Indirect contact with contaminated be linens, towels or clothing

 How long is it contagious?

  • As long as blisters or sores are draining or up to 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment.
  • Draining usually stops after 24 – 48 hours of treatment.
  • Children with impetigo should not attend school/daycare until at least 1 day of treatment has been completed and drainage has stopped.

 How is it treated?

  • With an antibiotic ointment or cream.
  • Sometimes an oral antibiotic is also prescribed.

 What can you do?

  • Wash hands after touching infected skin or contaminated articles (Kleenex, facecloth).
  • Do not share face cloths or towels.
  • Don’t stop treatment early.  Complete as prescribed.


Date of Creation: June 1, 2015

Last Modified: June 1, 2015