Skip to Main Content

We have a new app!

Take the Access library with you wherever you go—easy access to books, videos, images, podcasts, personalized features, and more.

Download the Access App here: iOS and Android. Learn more here!

Topical therapies for some common pediatric bacterial skin infections are outlined in Table 367-1.

Table 367-1. Topical Antibacterial Therapies


Impetigo is a highly contagious infection of the superficial epidermis noted predominantly in preschool-age children. Although group A β-hemolytic streptococci (GABHS) were traditionally most frequently isolated in the United States, Staphylococcus aureus now appears to predominate. Community-acquired methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA) has been present for more than a decade, but has more recently become more widespread, now representing approximately 90% of MRSA infections in cutaneous and subcutaneous tissue in children.1,2 Children in daycare and athletes are some of the persons at higher risk, but most patients are young, healthy, and immunocompetent.1 When diagnosing and treating infections caused by S aureus, the possibility of MRSA must be considered, particularly when standard treatment is not efficacious. See Chapter 284 for more information regarding MRSA and treatment considerations. Anaerobic bacteria are a less common cause of impetigo. In general, intact skin is resistant to impetiginization, and some form of compromise of the epidermal surface is necessary to permit infection. Predisposing factors include minor abrasions and lacerations, arthropod bites, burns, varicella, and several types of dermatitis, especially atopic dermatitis. Exposed areas such as the face, arms, and legs are most commonly affected, and impetigo is most common during the summer months.

Impetigo usually presents in one of two clinical forms. Nonbullous (crusted) impetigo, which accounts for more than 70% of cases, begins with small vesicles or vesiculopustules that rupture rapidly, leaving behind a honey-colored crust superimposed on a moist red base. Lesions are minimally symptomatic, although mild pain or pruritus may be present. Autoinoculation of the infection from scratching or digital manipulation may result in the spread of lesions. Associated findings include lymphadenopathy in 90% of patients, and leukocytosis, in up to 50% of cases.

Bullous impetigo is caused by infection with a toxin-producing strain of S aureus, primarily by phage group 2 or type 71, and less commonly types 3A, 3B, 3C, ...

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.