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Impetigo is a contagious superficial skin infection occurring on exposed skin predominantly in children.
The commonest cause of impetigo is Staph. aureus; group A Streptococci also cause impetigo. Increased incidence of impetigo is seen in conditions damaging the integrity of skin such as eczema, and its spread is facilitated by overcrowding and poor hygiene.
Impetigo appears as erythematous erosions with a characteristic golden brown crusting. There may be associated localised lymphadenopathy. Bullous impetigo describes punched-out blistering lesions with crusting due to Staphylococcal toxin production.
Swabs should be taken. Localised disease may be treated with topical agents such as fucidin cream. Often the condition requires treatment with oral penicillin (Streptococcus) and flucloxacillin (Staphylococcus). Erythromycin is an alternative for penicillinsensitive individuals.
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