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Impetigo treatments

2-minute read

If you have impetigo there are a number of things you can do to help manage the condition.

Here is some self-help information:

  • If you think you have impetigo you should visit your doctor, who will be able to offer you the most suitable course of treatment.
  • A common treatment is an antibiotic cream. Improvements should be seen after seven days of treatment. Antibiotic creams are usually used for 7-10 days.
  • Wash sores with warm, soapy water every 8 to 10 hours. Pat dry, using a new towel each time.
  • Cover sores with waterproof dressings that don’t have any holes. Throw all dressings in the bin straight after you take them off and wash your hands.
  • Skin sores (lesions) may appear 4-10 days after exposure to the infection. Sores are:
    • contagious as long as there is fluid weeping from them
    • no longer contagious when they have scabbed over or 24 hours after starting antibiotic treatment.
  • Avoid crowded places such as day care, school or workplaces until the skin sores have crusted over or you have been using antibiotic treatment for 48 hours (two days). This reduces the risk of you passing on the infection to other people.
  • It’s important to not touch the patches of impetigo. If you are applying a treatment such as a cream, you should thoroughly wash your hands before and after.
  • The affected area can become irritable and itchy. It’s important to not scratch it because it can make the impetigo spread and get worse.
  • Avoid sharing anything that comes into contact with your skin such as face cloths, towels, clothes and even bath water.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your child's impetigo, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: August 2017

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