NHS watchdog tells doctors to stop dishing out antibiotics for impetigo to curb ...

Doctors have today been urged to cut back on dishing out antibiotics for impetigo and give patients antiseptics instead.

Normally patients will be given antibiotics by their GP to halt the rapidly spreading and highly contagious bacterial infection.

But officials have now told doctors to stop doling out the drugs for most patients amid a 'global threat' of antibiotic-resistance. 

Public Health England the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) made the joint ruling in draft guidance.

They said GPs should give patients with the most common form of impetigo - non-bullous - antiseptic creams, which include Sudocrem.

NICE said evidence suggests topical antiseptic creams with hydrogen peroxide - antiseptic in liquid form - are just as effective as antibiotics for treating non-bullous impetigo. But they also said other antiseptics could be used. A popular brand is Sudocrem (pictured)

NICE said evidence suggests topical antiseptic creams with hydrogen peroxide - antiseptic in liquid form - are just as effective as antibiotics for treating non-bullous impetigo. But they also said other antiseptics could be used. A popular brand is Sudocrem (pictured)

The bodies said ones that contain hydrogen peroxide appear to work best for the treatment of the specific type of impetigo.

They found applying the creams for five to seven days improved symptoms and may have less side effects than antibiotics.

Crystacide one per cent cream, which is a prescription-only medicine, is the only available cream in this category.  

Other antiseptics could be used, the bodies said, which could include over-the-counter brands such as Sudocrem, Germolene and Dettol.  

Impetigo is the most common skin infection in young children, causing red sores, blisters and crusts, the NHS says.

It usually clears up on its own in three weeks. Antibiotics help reduce the spread of infection around school or work and speed up recovery. 

Non-bullous impetigo is characterised by thin-walled pustules which rupture quickly, forming a golden-brown crust.  

Doctors should already advise on hygiene and the use of gentle antibacterial soaps and water to gently remove skin crusts.

If antiseptic does not work or the impetigo is widespread, an antibiotic cream should be given instead, such as fusidic acid or mupirocin.

The bodies said the last option for treating the infection should be an oral antibiotic, such as flucloxacillin.  

WHAT IS IMPETIGO? 

Impetigo is a skin infection caused by a bacterium; the

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