How long does impetigo last?

Reviewed by Theresa H. Care Delivery Manager & Family Nurse Practitioner

Time saver 3 min read

Ah, the trials and tribulations of parenthood. If you have a young child, you know how illnesses and ouches like to strike at the most inopportune times. Yep – from coughs and colds to fevers and ear infections, some weeks (or months!) it can seem like your little one is a magnet for sickness. This can include skin conditions, like impetigo. And if your child gets impetigo, you’re probably wondering how long those oozing sores will be around. I mean, how long does impetigo last anyway?

We know that a skin condition like impetigo can look pretty serious. But thankfully, with the right prescription treatment, you can quickly clear up an impetigo infection. Keep reading to learn more about this common skin infection and how to get impetigo treatment online.

Used with permission from VisualDx
Used with permission from VisualDx

Impetigo basics

During childhood, skin conditions like rashes, blisters and hives are par for the course. But when a mystery rash morphs into itchy red sores that start to ooze and crust over, even a seasoned parenting pro can be thrown for a loop. But don’t worry, these symptoms are telltale signs that your child likely has a common bacterial skin infection known as impetigo.

Like a lot of viruses and infections, impetigo is especially in vogue among young kids age two to five. That’s because kids this age often attend daycare and, let’s be honest, aren’t always great about washing their hands. They also like to touch their faces (and yours) a lot, which means the infection can spread quickly to others through direct and close contact as well as through shared items like bedding and towels.

How long does it take for impetigo to go away?

If your child has impetigo, you really just want to know one thing: how long does impetigo last? The good news is that, if left untreated, most impetigo infections will eventually heal on their own. The bad news is that the natural healing process can take several days to weeks – making it even more likely that the infection will spread to others. To speed the healing process, a prescription antibiotic cream or ointment like mupirocin can be used. In some cases, an oral antibiotic may be prescribed.

Prescription antibiotics work quickly to kill off the strep or staph bacteria that’s behind an impetigo infection. The best part? Your little one’s skin starts to heal and clear quickly and they can return to daycare or school after 24 hours of antibiotic treatment – yay!

Impetigo self-care tips

To speed the healing process and prevent spreading an infection, it’s important to take care of the affected area.

  • Clean – Use a gauze pad to clean the area twice per day with antibacterial soap.
  • Soak – Drench a cotton ball in a vinegar solution (1 tbsp. white vinegar to 1 pint water) and apply to scabs for 20 minutes per day.
  • Cover – Keep the affected area(s) covered with a non-stick bandage.

Impetigo prevention tips

If your little one gets impetigo, you want to do everything you can to make sure they don’t get it again. Following the advice shared in these tips can help keep skin clear, happy and infection-free.

  • Wash the skin around insect bites and cuts and cover with a bandage to keep clean and dry
  • Avoid sharing personal items like towels, clothing, bedding and razors
  • Launder clothing, towels and bedding in hot and soapy water and use hot setting to dry
Health tip: Did you know that skin conditions like eczema make you more prone to impetigo? If you or your little one has this skin condition, get eczema treatment online today.

The fastest way to treat impetigo

Skin conditions like impetigo can be really uncomfortable and look alarming. Thankfully, you can get a prompt diagnosis and treatment online from a medical professional – no appointments needed.

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