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Impetigo Prevention

If you have impetigo, you can help prevent the spread of the infection by not sharing personal items, such as towels, razors, and washcloths. Because this skin condition is most frequently spread by direct skin-to-skin contact, it is important to wash your hands after each contact with an infected sore and to avoid activities that involve close contact.

Can Impetigo Be Prevented?

Impetigo is a contagious skin infection caused by bacteria. It is most frequently spread by direct skin-to-skin contact with someone who has an active infection. It may also spread through contact with shared items or surfaces, such as towels or bandages, that have come into contact with someone else's infection (see Impetigo Transmission).

Impetigo Prevention Strategies

No vaccines or other medicines are available to prevent impetigo. Prevention strategies, therefore, are focused on practicing good hygiene.
The following strategies can help prevent this disease from spreading:
  • Wash your hands after each contact with impetigo sores. Scrub the hands briskly for at least 15 seconds, and then dry them with a disposable towel. When you don't have access to soap and water, carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer containing at least 62 percent alcohol.
  • Keep fingernails short and clean. Teach children not to scratch sores.
  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean by gently cleaning them with warm, soapy water.
  • Avoid sharing personal items, such as towels, washcloths, razors, clothes, or uniforms, with someone who has impetigo.
  • People with open wounds should not participate in activities that involve close contact until the wounds are completely healed.
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Impetigo Information

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