'I thought my son had chickenpox' 

When Marilyn’s son had to be treated for impetigo at the age of nine, she thought that would be the end of it. But a mix-up of the bathroom flannels meant it soon spread to her daughter and 11-month-old son.

“At first I thought Callum had chickenpox because I noticed he had seven or eight spots on his face. They looked rotten, and he complained that they were really itchy.

“He’d just been treated for impetigo on his groin, but the facial spots didn’t look the same – until they crusted over and started weeping. I knew then it wasn’t chickenpox, and took him to the GP to get it checked out.

“The GP said Callum’s impetigo had spread to his face, and gave me some more antibiotic cream to treat it. He told me to separate my children’s flannels and towels as the infection spreads so easily. But it was too late.

“I think the kids got their flannels mixed up, because, by then, my ten-year-old daughter Sinead had caught it too. Then they passed it to their baby brother.

“I had them all treated with antibiotics that Monday, and by Friday the spots had gone completely.

“Luckily it was the holidays, so I didn’t need to keep them off school. For the first few days of treatment, when the spots were still weeping, I kept them inside and they played together in the house. During this time I constantly had to remind them to stop scratching their spots.

“My daughter got a bit moody about not seeing her friends during those days, but they coped fine otherwise and are clear of impetigo now.”

Page last reviewed: 15/07/2014

Next review due: 15/07/2016