School sores (aka impetigo) are a skin infection caused by bacteria, commonly Staphylococcus aureus or ‘Staph’. They are common among school aged children (hence the name) and highly contagious.
They appear as crops of blisters or honey-coloured crusts.
When the blisters rupture they may weep a clear fluid. Children may spread it to other parts of their body, or other people by touching the fluid.
General measures include using moist soaks to remove crusts, maintaining good skin hygiene and covering affected areas.
Children should be excluded from school or day care until they have received antibiotic treatment for 24 hours.
If school sores are becoming a recurrent problem, it may be appropriate to consider decolonisation therapy, to reduce the load of Staph bacteria on the skin.
This involves applying antibiotic ointment to each nostril, and showering daily with antiseptic containing (chlorhexidine or triclosan), or bleach baths, for a total of 5 days.
Using hot water, it’s recommended to wash bed linen twice weekly and towels should be changed daily.
Sounds like hard work, but hopefully these measures can reduce the chance of school sores coming back!
If school sores are becoming a headache, speak to your doctor for further details on whether decolonisation therapy is appropriate.