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Impetigo treatment, diagnosis & prescriptions

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Can a doctor treat impetigo on Maple?

Yes. In most cases a doctor on Maple can offer an impetigo diagnosis by asking about your symptoms and observing the distinctive sores that you or your child is experiencing.

Can I get a prescription on Maple?

Yes, our physicians can prescribe medications online during your consultation. Once you accept a prescription, you’ll have the option to pick it up from any pharmacy or to have it delivered right to your door at no additional cost.

You can visit our How it Works page to learn more.

What is impetigo?

Impetigo is a common, high contagious skin infection. Most of the time impetigo is found in kids, although occasionally you may see impetigo in adults; particularly if they’ve been exposed to infected children.

The infection usually appears as red sores, which burst and then form honey-coloured scabs.

The most common place to find Impetigo is on the face, usually forming around the nose and mouth. It’s also known to develop on other parts of the body, especially on hands and feet.

What are the symptoms of impetigo?

Common impetigo symptoms include dime to quarter sized blisters which burst very quickly, revealing red, moist skin underneath. A golden-coloured crust will form in the center of the spots and spread out to the edge.

These oozing sores can be painful and are extremely contagious.

If left untreated, impetigo can become a more serious condition, known as ecthyma. This condition results in darker coloured pus-filled bumps, which are much thicker than impetigo.

What causes impetigo?

Most forms of impetigo are caused by bacteria known as staphylococcus aureus. Bacteria from group A streptococcus are also known to sometimes cause impetigo.

Because impetigo is highly contagious, there are a number of possible direct impetigo causes, including:

  • Age (these infections are most commonly found in children ages 2-5)
  • Sports (usually involving direct skin-to-skin contact)
  • Warm weather
  • Broken skin (cuts, scraps, etc.)
  • Crowded conditions (usually daycare or school settings)
  • Direct contact with infected items (clothing, towels, etc.)
How is impetigo treated?

Typically, impetigo treatment involves applying an antibiotic cream or ointment directly onto the sores to help fight the infection. If there are a lot of sores, the doctor may recommend a course of oral antibiotics. Always be sure to take the full course of antibiotics, even if the impetigo blisters disappear, to prevent the infection from returning.

Occasionally, you may need to soak the area or use a wet compress to remove the scabs on top, in order for the antibiotic cream to penetrate the sores.

If the sores don’t clear up after a full treatment of antibiotics, the doctor may request lab tests on the liquid from inside the sores, to find the best type of antibiotics to fight the infection.

How long does impetigo last?

Without treatment, an impetigo infection will usually clear up on its own in two to three weeks.

However, because of how contagious impetigo can be, it’s recommended to seek treatment to prevent it from spreading to others. With treatment, an impetigo infection can clear up in 7-10 days.

What is the difference between impetigo and shingles?

The biggest difference between shingles and impetigo is that shingles are a viral infection while impetigo is bacterial.

Shingles can be quite painful, and the blistering skin rash is usually located around the stomach. This is the same virus that can cause chickenpox.

Impetigo on the other hand isn’t as painful, although it is extremely contagious. Its sores are normally located around the nose and mouth, although they can spread to other areas of the body, like the hands, feet, underarms and groin.

What is Maple?

With Maple, you can start talking to a doctor about your symptoms in a matter of minutes. We’re a healthcare app for fast, convenient 24/7 access to Canadian doctors.

You simply log in, tap a button to request a consultation, and we’ll immediately connect you to a doctor via live chat or video. You can visit our How it Works page to learn more.

Our doctors can assess symptoms, and provide treatment, including prescriptions as necessary.

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