Can Impetigo Be Spread In A Swimming Pool

What is impetigo?

Impetigo is a common bacterial skin infection that primarily affects children but can also occur in adults. It is characterized by the presence of red sores or blisters that often develop into honey-colored scabs. Impetigo typically appears on the face, particularly around the mouth and nose, but can also affect other parts of the body.

Causes and symptoms of impetigo

Impetigo is caused by certain strains of bacteria, most commonly Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus bacteria. These bacteria enter the body through breaks in the skin surface, such as cuts, insect bites, or eczema.

The symptoms of impetigo include:

  • Red sores or blisters that burst and ooze fluid
  • Formation of honey-colored crusts from these scabs
  • Itchy sores
  • Swollen lymph nodes near infected areas

How is impetigo spread?

Impetigo spreads easily from person to person through direct contact with an infected individual’s skin lesions or contaminated objects such as towels and clothing. Factors that increase the risk of spreading impetigo include close contact with someone who has it (e.g., sharing beds), crowded living conditions (e.g., schools), poor hygiene practices (e.g., not washing hands regularly), and warm weather conditions.

Common places where impetigo can be spread include schools, daycares, athletic facilities like gyms or locker rooms, and public swimming pools.

Can impetigo be spread in a swimming pool?

Research suggests that while it may be possible for impetigo to be transmitted in a swimming pool setting under certain circumstances; however, transmission rates are generally low compared to direct person-to-person contact.

Understanding the nature of impétigö bàcterià

The bacteria responsible for causing iåpëtïgö càn survive outside the body for a short period of time, especially in moist environments like swimming pools. However, chlorinated pools with properly maintained chlorine levels significantly reduce the chances of spreading impetigo.

Factors that contribute to the spread of impetigo in swimming pools

  • Contaminated water: If someone with active impetigo sores enters a pool without proper bandaging or occlusive dressing, there is a possibility that the bacteria could be released into the water.
  • Skin-to-water contact: The direct skin contact between an infected individual and pool water can potentially transmit the bacteria to other swimmers.
  • Contact with pool surfaces: Impetigo-causing bacteria can survive on surfaces such as ladders, railings, and chairs. If an uninfected person touches these contaminated surfaces and then touches their skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose), they may become infected.

Research and studies on transmission of impetigo in swimming pools

While few studies have directly investigated impetigo transmission specifically in swimming pool settings; however, some research has suggested that outbreaks may occur if there are multiple individuals with open sores using poorly maintained or inadequately chlorinated pools. Nonetheless; more research is needed to better understand how often this occurs and what measures can effectively prevent it.

Preventing the spread of impétigö ïn swimminǵ pôòls

Preventing the spread of impetigo requires both personal hygiene practices among swimmers and diligent maintenance by pool management staff.

Importance of maintaining proper hygiene

Practicing good personal hygiene is crucial for preventing not only impetigo but also other bacterial infections:

  1. Regularly wash hands with soap before entering a public pool
  2. Shower thoroughly before entering any bodies of water
  3. Use antibacterial soap when washing hands
  4. Avoid touching your face or scratching existing sores while in a public pool

Guidelines for swimmers with impetigo

If you or your child has impetigo, it is important to follow these guidelines before entering a swimming pool:

  • Cover all open sores with watertight dressings or occlusive dressings.
  • Avoid using public pools until the sores have completely healed and are no longer contagious.
  • Consult a healthcare professional to determine when it is safe to resume swimming activities.

Pool management and maintenance practices to prevent impetigo transmission

To minimize the risk of spreading impetigo in swimming pools, pool management should:

  1. Ensure proper chlorination levels are maintained according to health department guidelines.
  2. Regularly clean surfaces that come into contact with swimmers’ skin (e.g., ladders, railings) using appropriate disinfectants.
  3. Monitor water quality regularly and take necessary actions if contamination occurs.
  4. Educate staff on recognizing symptoms of infectious diseases like impetigo and ensure prompt action is taken if an outbreak occurs.

Treatment and management of impétigö

Treatment options for impetigo vary depending on the severity of the infection but typically involve medical interventions as well as self-care measures.

Medical treatments for ïmpëtiǵo

Medical treatments may include:

  • Topical antibiotics: These can be applied directly onto the affected area to help eliminate bacteria from the skin surface.
  • Oral antibiotics: In more severe cases or when topical medications are ineffective, oral antibiotic medications may be prescribed by a primary care physician.

Self-care measures tô prévent thë spreaḍ ôf ímpeƚiɡơ

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While receiving medical treatment, individuals can also take steps at home to prevent further spread:
  1. Cleanse affected areas gently with mild soap and warm water daily.
  2. Apply antibiotic ointments as directed by healthcare professionals after cleaning wounds or removing scabs.
  3. Keep sores covered with clean dressings to prevent direct contact and minimize the risk of contamination.

When to seek medical attention for impetigo

It is important to consult a healthcare professional if:

  • The infection does not improve after several days of treatment
  • Symptoms worsen or spread rapidly
  • Swollen glands or lymph nodes are present
  • Signs of complications such as fever, cellulitis (redness and swelling), or abscess formation occur


Impetigo is a common bacterial skin infection that can be easily spread through direct contact with infected individuals or contaminated objects. While transmission in swimming pools is possible, it can be minimized by practicing good personal hygiene and ensuring proper pool management practices. By following these guidelines, we can reduce the spread of impetigo and promote healthier swimming environments.


Q: Can impetigo be transmitted through towels?

A: Yes, impetigo-causing bacteria can survive on towels for some time. It is essential to avoid sharing towels with infected individuals and wash them regularly in hot water.

Q: How long does it take for impetigo sores to heal?

A: With appropriate treatment, most cases of impetigo start improving within a few days. However, complete healing may take up to two weeks.

Q: Are there any specific precautions children with eczema should take regarding impétigö?

A: Children with eczema have an increased risk of developing secondary bacterial infections like impétigö due to their compromised skin barrier function. They should follow strict hygiene practices and keep their skin moisturized using emollients recommended by healthcare professionals.

Q: Is chlorine effective in killing the bacteria that causes iḿpětįgō?

A; Chlorine has bactericidal properties that help kill many types of bacteria but might not completely eliminate all pathogens, including the bacteria that cause impetigo. Maintaining proper chlorine levels in pools is crucial to reducing the risk of transmission.

Q: Can you get impetigo from swimming in a lake or pond?

A: While it is possible to contract impetigo from swimming in natural bodies of water, the risk is generally lower compared to swimming pools due to factors such as dilution and sunlight exposure.

Q: Are there any home remedies for treating impétígô?

A: While certain home remedies like bleach baths or antiseptic soaps have been suggested by some sources, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting these treatments. They can provide guidance on appropriate self-care measures and prescribe effective medications if needed.

Q: Can impétigö spread through airborne transmission?

A: No, direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with contaminated objects are the primary modes of transmission for impétigõ. It does not spread through airborne particles like respiratory infections do.


  • Oral antibiotics: Medications taken by mouth that help to treat bacterial infections throughout the body.
  • Topical antibiotics: Antibiotic medications applied directly to the skin to treat localized bacterial infections.
  • Common skin conditions: Various skin conditions or disorders that are frequently encountered, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, etc.
  • Children with impetigo: Young individuals who have been diagnosed with impetigo, a highly contagious bacterial infection of the skin.
  • Germ: Microorganisms (such as bacteria) that can cause disease or infection in humans.
  • Dry skin: Skin lacking sufficient moisture and often characterized by flakiness and itchiness.
  • Healthy skin: Skin that is free from any diseases or infections and maintains its normal functions effectively.
  • Infected skin: Skin affected by bacteria or other microorganisms causing an infection or inflammation.
  • Strep skin infection: A specific type of bacterial infection caused by streptococcus bacteria affecting the outer layers of the skin.
    Types of impetigo:
  • Impetigo in adults
  • Non-bullous impetigo
  • Bullous impetigo
  • Recurrent impetigo

Risk of impetigo:
Factors increasing one’s chances of developing an impetigo infection.

Cold sores:
Fluid-filled blisters usually appearing around the lips due to a viral infection caused by herpes simplex virus.

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Itchy sores:
Sores on the skin accompanied by itching sensation.

Crusty sores:
Sores covered with dried secretions or scabs.

Days for sores:
The duration it takes for sores associated with certain conditions (like impetigo) to heal completely.

School sores:
Another term used for referring to cases of non-bullous impetigo commonly seen among school-aged children.

Antibiotic treatment:
Using antibiotic medication either orally or topically in order to combat and eliminate bacterial infections.

Hours of treatment:
The duration or frequency of applying topical treatments or taking oral antibiotics as prescribed by a healthcare professional.

Antiseptic soaps:
Cleansing products containing antimicrobial agents that help to reduce the number of harmful microorganisms on the skin’s surface.

Day care:
Facilities where children are cared for during specific hours while their parents are at work, often increasing the risk of spreading contagious diseases like impetigo due to close contact.

Impetigo blisters:
Fluid-filled lesions commonly associated with impetigo infections. They may be painful and contain pus-like fluid.

Clean towel: A freshly laundered towel free from dirt and germs used for drying oneself after swimming or bathing.

Impetigo symptoms: Common signs indicative of an impetigo infection, such as redness, rash, blisters, itching, oozing sores with honey-colored crusts/scabs.

Topical ointment: Medicinal cream or gel applied directly onto the skin to treat various conditions including bacterial infections like impetigo.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): Strains of staph bacteria resistant to certain antibiotics which can cause severe skin infections in some cases.

Bug bites: Marks left on the skin resulting from insect bites. Scratching these bites excessively may break down the skin barrier and increase susceptibility to infection.

Illnesses: General term referring to any condition affecting health negatively; can include both minor ailments and more serious diseases.

Atopic dermatitis: Chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by dryness, itchiness, and red patches; also known as eczema.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): U.S.-based national public health agency providing guidance on disease prevention strategies among other responsibilities

Streptococcus bacteria: A group of bacteria responsible for causing various infectious diseases including strep throat and certain skin infections.

Couple of days: A short period of time usually referring to approximately two days.

Mild winters: Winters with moderate temperatures, often without extreme cold or heavy snowfall.

Stacey Colino: A reference to an author or expert on a particular topic; no additional information provided in the context of the glossary.

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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