Staph infections are caused by a common bacteria called staphylococcus, which lives on most people’s skin or inside their noses. This bacteria causes virtually no harm in small amounts, but if it invades other parts of your body–such as your bloodstream, joints, bones, lungs, or heart–it could result in a staph infection. The infection could be life-threatening if left untreated.
Common Symptoms of Staph Infection
Symptoms of staph can vary greatly depending on where and how bad the infection is. The most common type is skin infections. These infections also vary and can include boils, cellulitis, impetigo and scalded skin syndrome.
Boils are the most common type of staph infection. They are a pocket of pus that develops either in a hair follicle or oil gland, often growing under the arms and around the groin or buttocks. The skin around the boil will usually become red and swollen, and become painful to the touch.
Take caution with boils, as some may break open and cause pus to seep out.
Cellulitis is an infection that causes redness, swelling, hotness, and tenderness to the surface of one’s skin. They most commonly affect the lower legs and feet but can occur anywhere on the body or face. The infection may result in sores or ulcers that create discharge.
Cellulitis is not contagious and does not usually spread from person to person.
Impetigo is a contagious skin infection that often appears as blister-like red sores. They are filled with fluid and can burst, which causes the sores to be surrounded by a yellow crust.
- Scalded Skin Syndrome
Scalded Skin Syndrome most commonly affect infants and young children. It is seen first as a rash with blisters, often accompanied by a fever. The blisters will often break, causing the top layer of the skin to come off, resulting in a raw, red surface on the skin which looks like a burn.
Besides skin infections, staph can also cause food or blood poisoning, toxic shock syndrome, and septic arthritis.
Causes of Staph Infection
Because the bacteria that causes staph lives commonly on people’s skin, it is common for people to carry staph bacteria but never develop a staph infection. However, a staph infection could still occur at any time due to the staph bacteria that people carry.
Staph is extremely contagious as the bacteria can survive extreme temperatures, drying, and high levels of salt. As well, it is able to live on common objects such as pillowcases or towels. These characteristics of the bacteria allow it to be easily transferred from person to person.
How to Treat Staph Infection
Treatments for staph may vary depending on the type and severity of the infection; however, it is most commonly treated with antibiotics. Tests are usually conducted to determine which type of antibiotic that will best treat the infection. Some strains of staph do not respond to antibiotics–they are called methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains. When this occurs, it is treated with alternate antibiotics such as vancomycin.
Some skin infections may involve the doctor creating an incision to a sore in order to drain it of the fluid or pus that has to build up inside.
Infections that involves a device or prosthetic will call for an immediate removal of the device/prosthetic.
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