Bacteria exist everywhere, inside our bodies and on our skin. Most are harmless and some are helpful. Some bacteria can cause disease. When there is a break in the skin, harmful bacteria can enter the body, causing infection.
Impetigo is a common skin infection caused by streptococcal or staphylococcal bacteria. Although impetigo can occur in people of any age, it is especially common in young children. 4 to 10 days after exposure, a rash occurs. First appearing as a small scratch or itchy patch quickly develops into a blister containing a yellow substance that form a flat crust when broken. Although most commonly seen on the face and diaper area it can occur anywhere on the skin. Often itchy, Impetigo is spread through direct contact with infected skin or through touching articles contaminated by contact with the rash. Impetigo is treated topically or with antibiotics.
Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and the soft tissues beneath. Cellulitis is caused by infection with staphylococcus, streptococcus or other bacteria. It is most commonly found on the face and lower legs, although other areas of the body may be affected. Skin appears red and inflamed with sharp borders that increase in size as the infection spreads, with lesions and a stretched appearance to the skin. Treatment is focused controlling the infection and preventing complications. Cellulitis may require hospitalization if severe enough to warrant intravenous antibiotics and close observation. Otherwise, treatment with oral antibiotics and close outpatient follow-up is sufficient.