Other Names:Stap infection
Staphylococcal infection is caused by staphylococcus bacteria, types of germs commonly found on the skin or in the nose of even healthy individuals. Sometime the bacterias may enter the body through cuts or abrasions which may be nearly invisible. Most of the time, these bacteria cause no problems or result in relatively minor skin infections.
But staph infections can turn deadly if the bacteria invade deeper into your body, entering your bloodstream, joints, bones, lungs or heart. A growing number of otherwise healthy people are developing life-threatening staph infections.
Treatment usually involves antibiotics and drainage of the infected area. However, some staph infections no longer respond to common antibiotics.
Staphylococcal infections can range from minor skin problems to endocarditis, a life-threatening infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). As a result, signs and symptoms of staph infections vary widely, depending on the location and severity of the infection.
Skin infections caused by staph bacteria include:
Boils. The most common type of staph infection is the boil, a pocket of pus that develops in a hair follicle or oil gland. The skin over the infected area usually becomes red and swollen.
If a boil breaks open, it will probably drain pus. Boils occur most often under the arms or around the groin or buttocks.
Impetigo. This contagious, often painful rash can be caused by staph bacteria. Impetigo usually features large blisters that may ooze fluid and develop a honey-colored crust.
Cellulitis. Cellulitis — an infection of the deeper layers of skin — causes skin redness and swelling on the surface of your skin. Sores (ulcers) or areas of oozing discharge may develop, too.
Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome. Toxins produced as a result of a staph infection may lead to staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome. Affecting mostly babies and children, this condition features fever, a rash and sometimes blisters. When the blisters break, the top layer of skin comes off — leaving a red, raw surface that looks like a burn.
Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Symptoms come on quickly, usually within hours of eating a contaminated food. Symptoms usually disappear quickly, too, often lasting just half a day.
A staph infection in food usually doesn’t cause a fever. Signs and symptoms you can expect with this type of staph infection include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Low blood pressure
Also known as blood poisoning, septicemia occurs when staph bacteria enter a person’s bloodstream. A fever and low blood pressure are signs of septicemia. The bacteria can travel to locations deep within your body, to produce infections affecting:
- Internal organs, such as your brain, heart or lungs
- Bones and muscles
- Surgically implanted devices, such as artificial joints or cardiac pacemakers
Toxic shock syndrome:
This life-threatening condition results from toxins produced by some strains of staph bacteria and has been linked to certain types of tampons, skin wounds and surgery. It usually develops suddenly with:
- A high fever
- Nausea and vomiting
- A rash on your palms and soles that resembles sunburn
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal pain
Septic arthritis is often caused by a staph infection. The bacteria often target the knees, shoulders, hips, and fingers or toes. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Joint swelling
- Severe pain in the affected joint
Some people carry staph bacteria on their skin or in their noses, but they do not get an infection. But if they get a cut or wound, the bacteria can enter the body and cause an infection.
Staph bacteria can spread from person to person. They can also spread on objects, such as towels, clothing, door handles, athletic equipment, and remotes. If you have staph and do not handle food properly when you are preparing it, you can also spread staph to others.
Staph bacteria are able to survive:
- Extremes of temperature
- Stomach acid
- High levels of salt
Anyone can develop a staph infection, but certain people are at greater risk, including those who
- Have a chronic condition such as diabetes, cancer, vascular disease, eczema, and lung disease
- Have a weakened immune system, such as from HIV/AIDS, medicines to prevent organ rejection, or chemotherapy
- Had surgery
- Use a catheter, breathing tube, or feeding tube
- Are on dialysis
- Inject illegal drugs
- Do contact sports, since you may have skin-to-skin contact with others or share equipment
The doctor will do a physical exam and ask the patient about the symptoms. Often, the doctor can tell if one has a staph skin infection by looking at it. To check for other types of staph infections, the doctor may do a culture, with a skin scraping, tissue sample, stool sample, or throat or nasal swabs. There may be other tests, such as imaging tests, depending on the type of infection.
Treatment for staph infections is antibiotics. Depending on the type of infection, one may get a cream, ointment, medicines (to swallow), or intravenous (IV). If you have an infected wound, your provider might drain it. Sometimes you may need surgery for bone infections.
Some staph infections, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), are resistant to many antibiotics. There are still certain antibiotics that can treat these infections.
Certain steps can help to prevent staph infections:
- Use good hygiene, including washing your hands often
- Don’t share towels, sheets, or clothing with someone who has a staph infection
- It’s best not to share athletic equipment. If you do need to share, make sure that it properly cleaned and dried before you use it.
- Practice food safety, including not preparing food for others when you have a staph infection
- Always keep covered a cut or wound.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.