A highly contagious skin infection, common in children, that usually occurs around the nose and mouth. It is caused by bacteria (usually staphylococci) entering areas of broken skin. The skin reddens and small, fluid-filled blisters appear. The blisters tend to burst, leaving moist, weeping areas that dry to leave honey-coloured crusts. In severe cases, there may be swelling of the lymph nodes in the face or neck and fever. Topical antibiotic drugs can be used, but if the condition is widespread oral antibiotics are usually given. To prevent spread of the infection, towels, flannels, and pillowcases should not be shared. Children should not go to school or mix with others until they have been treated for the condition.


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