Jefferson-Morgan School District

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Health Services » Skin Infections in the School Setting

Skin Infections in the School Setting

Skin Infections in the School Setting

Fall is a common time for many skin infections. With good hygienic measures many infections that are contagious can be minimized or avoided.

Any infection or draining could pose a threat to others. Basic hand washing is the most effective method to prevent the spread of skin infections that are caused by bacteria such as strep or staph. Persons should wash hands thoroughly with soap and running water after having contact with secretions from the nose or skin drainage of an infected person.

Common Skin Infections


Impetigo is a common skin infection caused by streptococcal or staphylococcal bacteria. It appears as small, red pimples or fluid-filled blisters with crusted yellow scabs found most often on the face but may be anywhere on the body. Impetigo is contagious until the skin sores are treated with antibiotics for at least 24 hours or the crusting lesions are no longer present. Impetigo is spread by direct contact with an infected person or from contaminated surfaces. Germs enter the through an opening in the skin such as a cut, insect bite or burn and causes oozing, leading to honey-colored crusted sores.

Certain control measures in addition to hand washing include keeping your child at home until he's been treated with antibiotics for 24 hours. Fingernails should be kept clipped to reduce further injury of tissues by scratching and subsequent spread through contaminated fingernails.


Scabies is another skin disorder caused by a burrowing mite. It spreads rapidly under crowded conditions when there is frequent skin-to-skin contact between people. The symptoms of scabies are pimple-like irritations or rash of the skin, especially between the fingers, the skin folds of the wrist, elbow or knee, the genital area, the breast, and should blades. Itching is usually intense and occurs especially at night. The scratching may cause body sores that can sometimes become infected. Scabies is acquired by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with an infested person. Contact must be prolonged. It can also be spread through sharing clothing, towels and bedding. Mites will not survive away from the human body more than 48-72 hours but can live on a person for up to a month. Treatment is with a topical lotion applied to the body and left on overnight.


Ringworm is a fungal infection that occurs on the body as a round flat spreading shape on the skin. It is spread by touching the infected skin of the person or sharing or touching contaminated objects. The treatment is an antifungal medication for at least 24 h ours before returning to school. Once returning, lesions should be kept covered.