Pokenga kiri ā-kura Impetigo (school sores)

Impetigo (also called school sores) is a common skin infection. Impetigo mostly affects tamariki (children), but it can affect people of any age. Impetigo is passed on by skin-to-skin contact such as touching, so it spreads very easily.

Symptoms of school sores

The symptoms of impetigo are red sores or blisters, which burst to leave crusty, golden-brown patches. The sores can be itchy. The sores mostly affect the face and hands, but they can appear on other parts of the body.

Impetigo needs treating to prevent complications and to stop the infection spreading.

Pictures of impetigo — DermNet (external link)

Treating impetigo

You should see your healthcare provider if you think you or your child has impetigo.

Clean the sores with warm water and a soft cloth to gently remove the crusts.

Apply antiseptic cream 2 to 3 times a day for 5 days. Examples include povidone-iodine, hydrogen peroxide 1% cream, and chlorhexidine.

Cover the sores if possible.

If the impetigo is more severe or widespread, your doctor may recommend treating it with oral antibiotics.

If the infection is not improving or comes back, you should go back to your healthcare provider.

Avoiding spreading impetigo

Wash your hands and your child's hands often.

Keep their fingernails short to stop them scratching.

You should not share towels and flannels until the infection has gone.

Tamariki and adults should stay away from school or work until 24 hours after starting treatment or as your healthcare provider advises.

Clinical review

This content was written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. It has been adapted for Health Information and Services.

Clinical advisers — HealthInfo (external link)