Any time the skin is disrupted, it can become infected. When the infection comes specifically from a staphylococcus germ, the resulting condition is called impetigo. It consists of red, crusty lesions that occur in clusters. Itchiness follows, and scratching spreads the impetigo from one place to another.
A classic example of impetigo can occur when Lucy has a cold; if you have her blow her nose too frequently, the abrasion from the rubbing may get infected and cause impetigo. Impetigo has a bad reputation, but it’s hardly leprosy. While it’s mildly contagious among children, it’s no reason to keep a kid out of school.
You can treat impetigo with frequent application of topical over-the-counter antibiotics and by keeping the nails short to limit spreading. If the infection is intense or worsens considerably, you should take your child to the doctor, who will decide if oral antibiotics are necessary.