¡Cómo deshacerse del impétigo rápidamente!

Las ampollas por impétigo son incómodas e increíblemente contagiosas. Aquí, nuestros expertos en salud comparten cómo curarlas lo antes posible con un tratamiento recetado.
Mujer infectada por el virus de la varicela (varicela), con la cara y el pecho cubiertos de espinillas inflamadas causadas por el acné, haciéndose una selfie

Key Points

  • Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria. It leads to crusty blisters that leak a honey-colored fluid.
  • If left to heal on its own, impetigo usually takes about three weeks to clear.
  • Antibiotic ointments can help clear up the infection and prevent you from spreading it to other parts or people. Prescription treatment can help you feel better in just a few days.

You probably first learned about impetigo when you were a kid—or started having kids. Because it spreads via direct contact or by touching something like a toy, blanket or another surface that has touched infected skin, it easily moves around nursery schools and other classroom settings.

But impetigo doesn’t only affect little ones. People of all ages can contract it and develop crusty, weeping blisters of their own.

If you develop impetigo, getting treatment ASAP can help you feel better sooner and prevent you from spreading the infection to others. Need treatment advice? Read on to learn about how to get rid of impetigo fast, starting with a hassle-free online consultation for impetigo treatments with Dr. B.

What is impetigo?

Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria. It creates scabby blisters that often have a crusty, honey-like discharge.

The infection usually starts with red, itchy sores. After a few days, the sores break open and leak a clear fluid. Then, the sores crust over with a yellow-colored scab. These sores don’t usually cause any scars or permanent marks.

This skin condition is most common in young children between the ages of two and five, but it can affect people of any age. People who play sports that cause frequent cuts or scrapes are at an increased risk. It can also spread quickly to others in close contact, including family members or classmates.

What causes impetigo?

Impetigo is caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. You can get it if you touch a sore caused by impetigo or a surface that has fluid from a sore on it.

It takes about ten days for symptoms to show up after exposure to the infection. Since this infection requires touching something with bacteria on it, it usually affects exposed skin—like arms, legs or skin around the nose and mouth. Cuts in the skin, including mosquito bites, are also at risk.

How to stop impetigo from spreading

This skin infection is very contagious, so it’s essential to practice good hygiene to prevent impetigo from spreading to others.

Follow these steps to limit the spread:

  • Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap.
  • Bathe regularly—and thoroughly.
  • If you get a cut or scrape, wash it with soap and water and keep it covered with a clean bandage to prevent infection.
  • Wash all bedding, towels and dirty clothes, and don’t share linens with others until the infection has cleared up.
  • Take any prescribed antibiotic treatment as directed until the infection is completely gone.

Cold sores vs. impetigo

Impetigo and cold sores are similar in that both cause weeping blisters. But some patterns can help you distinguish one from the other.

Impetigo can happen anywhere on the body, including the nose, mouth, arms and legs. Cold sores usually only occur around the mouth and lips.

The most significant difference between these two conditions is the color. Impetigo causes yellow, crusty blisters. Cold sores are usually red. Also, cold sore blisters tend to be smaller than impetigo blisters.

Finally, because cold sores are caused by a virus, antibiotics won’t help them go away.

How long does impetigo last?

Impetigo usually gets better on its own in two or three weeks. Even without treatment, it rarely causes any long-term problems.

But there are good reasons to treat infections as soon as possible. The sores can be uncomfortable or inconvenient. And because they’re highly contagious, you can spread the infection to others.

You should stay home from work or school if you have open sores that can’t be covered by a bandage or dressing. In the meantime, some treatments can help you get better faster.

How to get rid of impetigo in 24 hours

Topical antibiotics are the first line of treatment for mild cases that only affect a small part of your skin. Common ointments like Mupirocin and Altabax (Retapmulin) are applied to the infected skin.

They may not get rid of your impetigo in 24 hours—but they can help you recover faster than you would without treatment. Some people need 5-14 days of treatment, depending on the medication they use and how widespread the infection is.

If your condition is severe, you might need oral antibiotics. This treatment is usually reserved for people with an infection that covers a large part of their body. Oral antibiotics have a higher risk of side effects, like nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. So they shouldn’t be used unless absolutely necessary.

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Where to get impetigo treatment

Over-the-counter antibiotic ointments usually aren’t enough to kill the bacteria that cause impetigo. For prescription-strength ointments, you need help from a provider or online platform like Dr. B.

If you want to start treatment as soon as possible, fill out a short health questionnaire. We’ll connect you with a licensed provider who can help you find the best treatment for your symptoms. If appropriate, they’ll send a prescription to your chosen pharmacy within three working hours. We’ll even help you find the lowest prescription price at your local pharmacies. Learn more about how it works, or get started today!


Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. (2022). Impetigo: all you need to know.

Hartman-Adams, H., et al. (2014). Impetigo: diagnosis and treatment. American Family Physician.

Koning, S., et. al. (2020). Impetigo: What can make it go away faster? Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care.

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