School sores (impetigo) - including symptoms, treatment and prevention
School sores (impetigo) are a superficial skin infection caused by Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria, or sometimes both. They are most common in children.
How school sores are spread
The bacteria can easily spread to other parts of the infected person’s body or to other people directly by contact with sores or indirectly by contact with contaminated clothes.
Signs and symptoms
School sores appear as a flat, yellow, crusty or moist patches on the skin (see image), usually on exposed parts of the body such as the face and legs. The sores are often greater than 1cm in diameter.
Image: Impetigo (school sore)
Diagnosis is based on examination of the sores. Dry, cracked skin serves as an area for growth of the Streptococcus and Staphylococcus bacteria.
(time between becoming infected and developing symptoms)
4 to 10 days.
(time during which an infected person can infect to others)
As long as there is discharge from the sores. School sores are extremely infectious.
Your doctor may recommend antibiotic cream for mild and localised school sores. Antibiotics by mouth may be needed for multiple school sores and recurrent school sores.
Any sores on exposed surfaces should be covered with a watertight dressing.
School sores can be prevented by the following measures:
- Exclude people with school sores from childcare, preschool, school and work until appropriate treatment has commenced. Any sores on exposed surfaces should be completely covered with a dressing.
- Good handwashing procedures should be encouraged.