Understanding Impetigo: Causes, Symptoms, and Risk Factors

Impetigo is a common and highly contagious bacterial skin infection that primarily affects children but can also occur in adults. It’s characterised by red sores that quickly rupture, ooze for a few days, and then form a yellow-brown crust. While impetigo is typically not a serious condition, it can be uncomfortable and unsightly. Understanding its causes, symptoms, and risk factors is essential for effective management and prevention.


Impetigo is caused by bacterial infection, primarily by Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. These bacteria can enter the skin through cuts, scrapes, insect bites, or existing skin conditions like eczema. Once inside, they multiply rapidly, leading to the characteristic symptoms of impetigo.


The symptoms of impetigo typically include:

Red sores: These sores often appear around the nose and mouth but can also occur on other parts of the body.

Blisters: The red sores quickly fill with fluid, forming small blisters that may burst and ooze.

Crust: After the blisters burst, they leave behind a yellow-brown crust that gradually heals over time.

Itching: The affected area may itch or feel irritated.

how to get rid of impetigo in 24 hours

Risk Factors

Several factors can increase the risk of developing impetigo:

Age: Children between the ages of 2 and 6 are most susceptible to impetigo due to their close contact with others in school or daycare settings.

Crowded Environments: Places with close contact among individuals, such as schools, daycares, and sports teams, increase the risk of spreading the infection.

Warm Weather: Impetigo is more common in warmer climates as bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments.

Poor Hygiene: Not washing hands regularly or sharing personal items like towels or razors can facilitate the spread of bacteria.

Skin Conditions: People with pre-existing skin conditions like eczema or dermatitis are at higher risk as their skin barrier may be compromised, allowing bacteria to enter more easily.


Impetigo is highly contagious and can spread through direct contact with an infected person or by touching items contaminated with the bacteria, such as towels, clothing, or bedding. Scratching the affected area can also spread the infection to other parts of the body.

how to get rid of impetigo in 24 hours

How to Get Rid of Impetigo in 24 Hours

While impetigo typically requires treatment with antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare professional, there are steps individuals can take to help alleviate symptoms and promote healing:

Keep the affected area clean: Gently wash the affected area with soap and water to remove crusts and reduce the spread of bacteria.

Apply antibiotic ointment: Over-the-counter antibiotic ointments can help speed up healing and prevent the spread of infection. Apply as directed by a pharmacist or healthcare provider.

Cover the sores: Keep the affected area covered with sterile gauze or a clean bandage to prevent scratching and further infection.

Avoid scratching: Itching is a common symptom of impetigo, but scratching can worsen the condition and spread the infection. Keep nails trimmed short and try to distract from the urge to scratch.

Practice good hygiene: Wash hands regularly with soap and water, especially after touching the affected area or coming into contact with someone who has impetigo. Avoid sharing personal items like towels, clothing, or razors.

It’s important to note that while these measures can help manage impetigo, they may not eliminate the infection within 24 hours. Prompt treatment with antibiotics is usually necessary for full resolution.

Get Impetigo Treatment in Exeter

Impetigo is a common bacterial skin infection that can be easily managed with proper hygiene and medical treatment. Understanding its causes, symptoms, and risk factors is essential for effective prevention and treatment. If you suspect you or your child has impetigo, consult a healthcare professional for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Luxtons Pharmacy in Exeter is committed to providing personalised care and advice for various health concerns, including impetigo. Our team of pharmacists is here to offer support and guidance on managing impetigo and other skin conditions. Contact us today to find out more or book an appointment below.


This blog was written on behalf of Luxtons Pharmacy by Pharmacy Mentor.