Impetigo is a skin infection usually seen in pre-schoolers and athletes who participate in skin-to-skin contact such as wrestlers. Symptoms include red sores that erupt and ooze, resulting in honey-colored crusts. The infection is very contagious, so patients should cover their sores with gauze or bandages and avoid allowing the infected area to come into contact with others, especially those with pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema. They should wash their hands often and linens should be washed separately. Itching will spread the infection. There are two types of impetigo: less-severe Bullous impetigo which is caused by the Staph bacteria, and Ecthyma, caused by the Strep bacteria with sores penetrating into the dermis layer of the skin. Mild cases of impetigo can be treated with bactericidal ointment such as neosporin, more serious cases should be treated with an oral antibiotic such as erythromycin. Children should be kept home from school until deemed non-contagious, usually after 24 hours of starting antibiotics.
In Spring 2008, the late Amy Winehouse was diagnosed with an Impetigo infection.