School sores (impetigo)

School sores (impetigo)

School sores (impetigo) starts with blisters on exposed parts of the body (hands, legs, face).

Thumbnail of Impetigo printoutKey points to remember

  • school sores is the common name for impetigo (you say, im-pa-ty-go)
  • school sores may start as a blister, and then develop a yellow crust
  • they are more common on your child's hands, legs or face
  • the sores get bigger each day or new sores can happen nearby - they spread easily
  • the sores can be itchy
  • school sores easily spread to other children and adults if they touch the sores

What to do

Go to the doctor immediately if a school sore is near the eye.

  • go to the doctor
  • check and clean every day
  • gently wash the sores with warm water and a soft cloth - wash the sores until the crust comes off and wash away the pus and blood
  • check other children for school sores 
  • you may get an antiseptic cream from the doctor - use it twice a day for 5 days
  • cover sores with a cloth or plaster to help stop the infection from spreading
  • keep your child's nails short and clean
  • wash your hands with soap and dry thoroughly before and after touching the skin or sores
  • make sure your child washes their hands with soap often, and dries them thoroughly, especially if they touch the sores
  • go back to the doctor if there is more than one lesion or if it is spreading or not improving 

How is it spread?

  • fluid or pus from sores gets on other skin
  • keep sores clean and covered

What do I do if the school sores get worse?

You need to go to the doctor if any of these things happen:

  • the sores do not begin to heal within 2 days
  • redness spreads around a sore
  • sores have pus in them 
  • more sores develop
  • your child is unwell with a fever or you are worried about their symptoms

Occasionally, school sores can lead to other skin infections such as boils or cellulitis.  

It is important to take the antibiotics every day until they are finished, even if the school sores seem to have cleared up earlier. The antibiotics need to keep killing the infection in the body after the skin has healed.

Should I keep my child home from kura or school?

Yes, until one day after the start of treatment, or check with your doctor or public health nurse or school.

This page last reviewed 31 October 2017.
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