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How Do You Know If You Have A Skin Infection?

mpetigo can be seen in adults and kids. It is more common in kids because they have thinner skin. Kids are also more active, and often have cuts, scrapes or insect bites. Many kids also have eczema. The intense itch makes them scratch their skin open. Any breaches in the skin barrier provide access points for bacteria to colonize and cause infection.

Common body sites of impetigo include areas around the nose and mouth, but they can quickly spread to other areas of the body such as hands and forearms.

How can you tell if you or your child have impetigo vs. worsening of the underlying eczema or other skin conditions? Here are two important visual clues:

  1. Presence of large blisters. The blister may first appear clear and then turn cloudy. Large blisters can develop with Staphylococcus aureus infection.


2. Presence of a golden honey-color crust. The crust is developed over a course of a few days to week. Usually, you will first see weeping fluid from the skin surrounded by areas of intensely red skin. Over time, the weeping fluid dries up leaving a residue of crust with yellow, bright brown or tan colors. The combination of the colors conjures up an image of golden honey.


Dr. Steven Q. Wang is a board certified dermatologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He is the leading the Dermatologic Section in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Dr. Wang has extensive experience in treating skin conditions and received numerous accolades for outstanding performance and compassion as a dermatologist. In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Wang has an active and successful clinical research program focused in photoprotection, antioxidants, nanotechnology and skin health. With more than 85 peer-reviewed scientific medical articles, book chapters and three books in dermatology authored, Dr. Wang lectures extensively throughout the world, and serves as an expert scientific and medical consultant for a number of international cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies. In recognition of his expertise, major media outlets such as the  New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, Dr. Oz and CNN have frequently quoted and featured Dr. Wang.

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