Child Health  |  Impetigo/School Sores - Patient Resource

Child Health

Impetigo/School Sores - Patient Resource

Impetigo is a very common infection causing sores/harehare. It is often called school sores because it is most common in school aged children. Impetigo is caused by bacteria getting into the body through breaks in the skin from a cut or insect bites. Impetigo can occur with no visible break in the skin.

Features of impetigo are:

  • Blisters often filled with pirau/pus.
  • Itchy blisters filled with yellow/honey coloured fluid, they might leak and crust over.
  • Sometime a Red Rash.
  • The Rash can appear all over the skin and spread to different areas.
  • Swollen lumps, usually lymph glands can appear in the neck groin or armpits.
  • Impetigo can sometimes appear on top of a scabies infection, for example in the finger webs. Both conditions need to be treated.

Untreated infection/pirau may spread to nearby tissues and through the blood causing “blood poisoning”. The inflammation sometimes causes kidney damage, joint infection, skin scarring or in rare cases, spread to the heart or brain.

Treating Impetigo/harehare:

1.  Wash and dry hands with soap and warm water.

2.  Clean infected area.

3.  Wash until you have taken away the crust and pus using one of the following:

  • A cup of warm water with ½ teaspoon salt added (sea swimming may help too).
  • One cap of Janola (15mls) put in 10 litres of water in a bath. Dab wounds with betadine ointment.
  • If using Kawakawa, soak kawakawa leaves in boiling water, cool, then dab water on sore or use leaves as poultice.

4.  Cover sores with clean gauze, cloth or fabric sticking plaster each time.

5.  Wash your hands and dry thoroughly.


Stop the spread of Impetigo:

Impetigo can spread between people by touching and scratching sores. To avoid this you should: Keep fingernails short and clean. Try and have the same person doing the dressings.

Last updated : Thursday, May 18, 2017
Next review date : Friday, May 18,2018

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