Very mild cases might go away on their own. However, this risks the condition spreading and infecting other people. Antibacterials are the treatment of choice.
Mild cases can be treated with antibiotic cream or ointment. Wash any crusts off first. Usual treatment in Australia is Mupirocin (®Bactroban) that is applied three times per day for 10 days.
More widespread infections will need oral antibiotics such as Flucloxacillin or Dicloxacillin or Cefalexin for 5-10 days.
It’s probably fair to say that kids are often treated with oral antibiotics for mild school sores when topicals might do the job just as well.
Clearly, it’s very disruptive to a family for a child to be out of daycare for any longer than is necessary – for example, in a child who doesn’t respond to topical antibiotic and subsequently needs oral antibiotics. On the other hand, antibiotic resistance is now “an urgent global health priority.” Overall, the guidelines are very clear that topical antibiotics are preferred to oral antibiotics for mild cases¹.