Impetigo - Symptoms 

Symptoms of impetigo 

Impetigo causes sores and blisters on the skin 

Impetigo does not cause any symptoms until four to 10 days after the initial exposure to the bacteria. This means that people can easily pass the infection on to others without realising that they are infected.

The symptoms of bullous and non-bullous impetigo are described below.

Bullous impetigo

The symptoms of bullous impetigo begin with the appearance of fluid-filled blisters, which usually occur on the trunk (the central part of the body from above the waist, but excluding the head and neck) or on the arms and legs.

The blisters may quickly spread, before bursting after several days to leave a yellow crust which heals without leaving any scarring.

The blisters aren't usually painful, but the area of skin surrounding them may be itchy. As with non-bullous impetigo, it is important that you do not touch or scratch the affected areas of the skin.

Symptoms of fever and swollen glands are more common in cases of bullous impetigo.

Non-bullous impetigo

The symptoms of non-bullous impetigo begin with the appearance of red sores that usually occur around the nose and mouth. However, sometimes other areas of the face and the limbs can also be affected.

The sores quickly burst leaving thick, yellow-brown golden crusts. After the crusts dry, they leave a red mark that usually heals without scarring. The time it takes for the redness to disappear can vary between a few days and a few weeks.

The sores are not painful, but they may be itchy. It is important not to touch, or scratch, the sores because this can spread the infection to other parts of your body, and to other people.

Other symptoms of impetigo, such as a fever and swollen glands, are rare but can occur in more severe cases.

Page last reviewed: 25/04/2012

Next review due: 25/04/2014


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