While impetigo looks alarming, this skin infection typically clears up with treatment. When your GP first diagnosed that your child had impetigo, they may have given you an antibiotic cream or even a dose of oral antibiotics to sort the problem out.
While this worked initially, you can see new impetigo blisters on your child's skin. Why has the infection come back?
You Stopped the Treatment Early
While it can take a while for an antibiotic cream or medication to get rid of impetigo, you should see some improvement relatively quickly. Your child's blisters start to dry up and heal; new blisters stop forming.
Typically, at this stage, your child is likely to perk up and feel better. Their skin looks better, and they may not feel so itchy. They'll go out of their isolation period and get back to school. Basically, you can tell that they are on the mend.
It can be tempting, at this stage, to stop treating the infection because it looks like it has run its course. So you may have stopped applying the cream or giving your child their antibiotics because you didn't think they needed them any longer.
However, there may be residual infection in your child's skin. If you cut an impetigo antibiotic treatment short, then the infection may simply flare up again.
Antibiotic creams, liquids and tablets are meant to be taken for a specific number of days, and you need to complete the course to see the best results. If you don't do this, then there is an increased risk that the impetigo will take hold again.
Your Child Is Carrying Other Bacteria
In some cases, people get repeated impetigo infections because they are carrying bacteria somewhere else in their body. The treatment they get from their GP clears up the impetigo on their skin; however, these other bacteria essentially then trigger another infection later.
So in some cases, your GP may want to run tests on your child to see if they are carrying this kind of bacteria. This typically involves taking a swab of the inside of your child's nose.
If this test is positive, then your GP will want to treat these nasal bacteria, usually with a specialist cream. Once you clear up this problem, you may find that your child's impetigo stops coming back.
So if your child has repeated problems with impetigo, they may need further or different treatments. To find out more, talk to your GP.