If you think you have impetigo, you'll need to see a doctor. While some mild cases do clear up on their own, your physician may prescribe a topical antibiotic, such as mupirocin ointment, to prevent the infection from spreading. The most effective way to use the ointment is to apply it to the open sores, not the scabs. If the infection is severe, or if it has spread to multiple areas, your doctor may also prescribe an oral antibiotic [source: Mayo Clinic].
To keep your symptoms in check until the infection goes away, remember:
- A clean rash heals fast. Germs can't live in a sterile environment, so keeping the infection site clean will help send bacteria packing. If necessary, soak any crusted-over spots in warm water to remove buildup and then wash the rash with unscented soap. Let the area dry completely, then cover it with a breathable gauze bandage [source: eMedicineHealth].
- Fingernails aren't your friends. Unless you have impressive willpower, you'll probably be tempted to scratch the rash. But scratching can cause bacteria to get under your fingernails, which can spread the bacteria to other parts of your body. Plus, scratching further inflames already irritated skin and can reopen sores and prolong your infection. To prevent these problems, trim your fingernails and cover your rashes with bandages until symptoms subside [source: Cronan].
- When in doubt, don't go out. As with any contagious illness, you should avoid close contact with others until your sores or blisters begin to heal.
If traditional antibiotic treatment seems a bit rash, keep reading to learn about some all-natural ways to deal with a minor case of impetigo.