What is infantigo and is it contagious?

Infantigo can be a troubling condition for young children and their parents alike. This bacterial skin infection is commonly found in infants and young children, but it can occur in people of all ages. If you’re concerned that your child might have infantigo, it’s essential to understand what it is and whether it’s contagious.

What is Infantigo?

Infantigo is a bacterial skin infection. It’s also known as impetigo. This condition is most common in children between the ages of two and six, but it can also affect infants and adults. There are two types of infantigo; bullous impetigo and non-bullous impetigo.

Bullous Impetigo

Bullous impetigo is characterized by the presence of fluid-filled blisters on the skin. These blisters tend to be larger than blisters caused by non-bullous impetigo. This type of infantigo is caused primarily by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

Non-Bullous Impetigo

Non-bullous impetigo is the more common type of infantigo. It produces red sores that quickly rupture, ooze for a few days, and then form yellow-brown scabs. These sores may be itchy or painful but are typically not very severe. Non-bullous impetigo is usually caused by either Streptococcus pyogenes or Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

What Causes Infantigo?

Infantigo is caused by a bacterial infection. This infection enters the skin through a cut, scrape, or other injury. The bacteria then multiply, causing sores, blisters, and crusting. Infantigo is contagious, and it can spread very quickly from person to person through close contact, touching contaminated objects or surfaces, or insect bites.

Is Infantigo Contagious?

Yes, infantigo is highly contagious. This means that it can easily spread from person to person through close contact or objects that are contaminated with the bacteria. It’s important to note that once your child is infected with infantigo, the contagious period can last for several days or until the infected area has completely healed.

What Are the Symptoms of Infantigo?

The symptoms of infantigo may vary depending on the type of bacterial infection. In general, the symptoms include:

  • Red, itchy sores on the skin
  • Oozing blisters that quickly rupture
  • Scabbing over the affected area
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever, in severe cases.

How is Infantigo Diagnosed?

If you think your child has infantigo, it’s important to take them to a doctor or dermatologist. The health care provider will examine the affected skin and may take a sample of pus or fluid from the sores for laboratory testing. This is to determine which type of bacteria is causing the infection.

How is Infantigo Treated?

If your child is diagnosed with infantigo, the doctor may prescribe an antibiotic cream or ointment. They may also prescribe an oral antibiotic in more severe cases. It’s important to follow through with the entire course of antibiotics, even after the symptoms have cleared up.

In addition to medication, keeping the affected area clean and dry, and avoiding scratching or picking at the sores can help promote healing. It’s also important to avoid close contact with others until the sores have completely healed.

How Can You Prevent Infantigo?

Preventing infantigo is not always possible, but there are some measures you can take to reduce your child’s risk of developing this bacterial infection. These include:

  • Keeping your child’s skin clean and dry
  • Teaching your child good hygiene practices, such as handwashing, and not sharing personal items like towels and clothing
  • Maintaining proper wound care if your child has a cut, scrape, or insect bite
  • Using insect repellent to prevent bites
  • Avoiding close contact with others who have infantigo or other skin infections


Infantigo is a bacterial skin infection that can occur in people of all ages but is most common in children between two and six years old. It usually presents as red sores that quickly rupture and then scab over. Infantigo is highly contagious and can easily spread to others through close contact or contact with contaminated objects. If you suspect your child has infantigo, it’s important to seek medical attention to prevent further spread of the infection.

Common Questions about Infantigo

  • Can adults get infantigo?

    Yes, adults can get infantigo. It’s not just limited to children.

  • How long does it take for infantigo to go away?

    The healing time for infantigo can vary from person to person. Typically, it takes around seven to 10 days for the sores to heal completely.

  • Is it safe to go to school or work with infantigo?

    To prevent the spread of infantigo, it’s recommended to avoid close contact with others until the sores have completely healed.

  • Can you get infantigo from animals?

    It’s possible to contract infantigo from animals, but it’s not very common.

  • Is infantigo contagious during the scabbing stage?

    Infantigo is still contagious during the scabbing stage, so it’s important to continue to practice good hygiene and avoid close contact with others until the sores have fully healed.


  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2021). Impetigo. Mayo Clinic. [Link]
  • NHS Staff. (2019). Impetigo. NHS. [Link]
  • AAD Staff. (n.d.). Impetigo. American Academy of Dermatology Association. [Link]