Impetigo (im-puh-TIE-go) is a highly contagious skin infection that mainly affects infants and children. Impetigo usually appears as red sores on the face, especially around a child's nose and mouth. Although it commonly occurs when bacteria enter the skin through cuts or insect bites, it can also develop in skin that's perfectly healthy.
Impetigo is seldom serious, and usually clears on its own in two to three weeks. But because impetigo can sometimes lead to complications, your child's doctor may choose to treat impetigo with an antibiotic ointment or oral antibiotics. Your child can usually return to school or a child care setting as soon as he or she isn't contagious â€” often within 24 hours of starting antibiotic therapy.