All About Impetigo in Adults

admin June 19, 2013 Comments Off on All About Impetigo in Adults

Impetigo in adults is a very contagious dermal infection that is mostly caused by Staphylococcus Aureus and occasionally by Streptococcus Pyogene bacteria. 70% of impetigo cases occur in children. Impetigo is of two types:

  1. Bullous Impetigo – It forms large, fluid-filled painless blisters.
  2. Non-bullous Impetigo – It forms sores that burst and leave yellow-brown crusts behind.

Though it is not serious, oral or topical antibiotics are generally prescribed by doctors in case of occurrence in children.


Symptoms of Impetigo in adults

  • Bullous Impetigo generally occurs in infants and toddlers. Fluid-filled blisters are formed which often spread fast and eventually burst. The yellowish crusts formed due to it eventually heal without scars. The skin around blisters becomes red and itchy.
  • Non-bullous Impetigo forms red sores that burst and ooze pus or fluid. It forms thick, yellowish-brownish crusts that eventually heal without scars. In rare cases, Impetigo in adults may cause fever or swelling of certain glands.

Causes of Impetigo

Both Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes exist harmlessly on skin. Usually, Impetigo in adults is caused due to skin injury and is the result of an insect bite. Since it is contagious, it spreads when uninfected people make contact with the things that an infected person has used.

  • Primary Impetigo – It is the infection caused directly by bacteria through a cut or insect bite.
  • Secondary Impetigo – It is the infection caused after another skin condition has upset the protective mechanism.

Impetigo diagnosis

It is easy to diagnose Impetigo in adults like in children. Generally, a few questions determine it but tests might be required if:

  • Symptoms are severe and widespread
  • Irresponsiveness of immunity
  • Infection recurs

The affected area should be gently swiped with a swab, which is used for determination of germs and presence of other infections such as ringworm.

Treatment of Impetigo in adults

  • Hygiene – In cases of mild infection, physicians often recommend only certain hygienic measures to speed up natural healing.
  • Topical Antibiotics – Doctors generally prescribe Mupirocin for topical application. Before the antibiotics are applied, the scabs should be gently removed as much as possible and the affected area should be washed with lukewarm soapy water.
  • Oral Antibiotics – Severe cases of Impetigo in adults require oral antibiotics, the type and dosage of which depends upon the severity of the condition. Diarrhoea, nausea, stomach ache, yeast infection, etc. could be the side-effects of antibiotics but they disappear shortly.


There are rare cases but sometimes complications with Impetigo can be serious.

  • Cellulitis – It occurs when infections reach the deeper layer of the skin. Reddish inflammation, fever and pain are the indications of this condition.
  • Scarlet Fever – It causes fine pink rashes across the body. It often causes pain, nausea, vomiting, etc.
  • Septicemia – It causes, fever, rapid breaths, vomiting, dizziness and is potentially life-threatening.


The best prevention of Impetigo in adults is by maintaining good hygiene. If anyone is infected, he/she should keep the affected area clean and abstain from touching it. Others should avoid contact with the things that come in contact with affected part of the patient.

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