Staph Infection

STAPH INFECTION stitches

Last Updated June 3rd, 2019

Overview

‘Staph’ is the shortened term for the genus of bacterium known as Staphylococcus. This microbe is abundant in the environment and also inhabits the skin and upper respiratory tracts of various mammals and birds. These are also present on the surfaces of human bodies and inside our noses and throats. Usually, these microorganisms are harmless but they are capable of causing a range of infections of varying severity given the right conditions. Under the microscope, Staphylococcus bacteria appear in the form of globules clustered together. These bacteria are very hardy, being able to survive conditions such as temperature extremes, salty environments and lack of moisture.

 

What is Staph Infection?

STAPH INFECTION earsStaphylococcus bacteria are part of the normal microbial flora found on human skin and hair and they even inhabit the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. These microbes are capable of causing infections in various forms when they invade the body. Usually, they tend to cause minor skin infections but if they manage to burrow deeper into the tissues, joints or bloodstream, they can end up causing severe infections that can be life-threatening. Infections caused by Staph bacteria range from pimples and skin boils to impetigo, pneumonia, and endocarditis. These bacteria are capable of producing toxins that can lead to conditions such as food poisoning. This article, however, will only discuss the various forms of direct infection rather than problems caused by exposure to toxins produced by Staph bacteria.

There are several species and subspecies of Staphylococcus bacteria. Of these, the species that are most often implicated in a broad range of infections is the one called Staphylococcus aureus. It used to be possible to treat Staph infections with common antibiotics such as penicillin. However, this bacterium has proved to be highly resilient and adaptable. Certain strains have been able to develop resistance to common antibiotics. This makes some staph infections difficult to treat and all the more deadly.

 

How Do People Get Staph Infections?

Generally, unsanitary conditions and lack of hygiene provide conducive conditions for infection to occur. The bacterium can enter through minor cuts or scrapes in the skin and then proceed to go deeper. Alternatively, it may access the bloodstream directly through devices such as intravenous tubes.
Risk factors include:

  • STAPH INFECTION stitchesBeing very young or very old and, thus, more susceptible to infections in general.
  • Having invasive devices such as intravenous tubes, catheters, dialysis tubes or ventilators through which the bacteria can enter the body.
  • Respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis.
  • Having a weak immunity.
  • Cuts, breaks, and sores in the skin or large wounds as a result of injury, insect bites or even skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema increase the likelihood of developing the Staph infection.
  • Contamination of food products through unsanitary conditions of production or subsequent handling.
  • Skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a staph infection.
  • Contact with objects such as towels or personal hygiene products used by someone with a Staph infection.

 

What Kinds of Infections Do Staphylococcus Bacteria Cause?

Infection by Staph bacteria can take a variety of forms depending on the specific strain of bacterium responsible, the degree of invasion and which tissues or organs have been affected. This section discusses some widely varying manifestations of Staph infection.

  • Boils: This is a very common phenomenon that even healthy individuals have experienced from time to time. A superficial infection of a hair follicle or gland causes the formation of pus-filled boils on the skin that often drain spontaneously.
  • Cellulitis: In this case, the deeper layers of skin are infected, causing localized reddening and inflammation accompanied by fever. The affected area is warm to the touch and feels tender. It tends to develop ulcers and discharge may also be present. This kind of infection can arise in any area of the skin but it is more common in the lower leg. The condition can worsen and cause sweating, fatigue, dizziness and muscle aches. In extreme cases, particularly when it goes untreated, the infection can spread deeper into the lymph nodes and even into the blood.
  • Bacteremia: This is another term for the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream. This allows the microbes to circulate throughout the body, with the possibility of affecting various tissues and organs including the bones and muscles. It can even set off an inflammatory response throughout the body in the form of sepsis. This can have fatal consequences if treatment is not administered promptly.
  • Pericarditis and endocarditis: When bacteria manage to travel as far as the heart and affect its protective membranes, they can give rise to pericarditis. Infection and inflammation of the tissues lining the heart’s valves and chambers are known as endocarditis. The patient typically experiences symptoms such as fever, sharp chest pain and shortness of breath. Both conditions are potentially life-threatening.

 

What Complications Can Arise?

Depending on the nature and extent of the infection there can be a wide range of possible complications. Minor skin afflictions are usually easy to treat and resolve. Advanced skin infections can lead to the death of tissue or gangrene. Deeper invasion by the bacteria is more likely to give rise to severe complications. In particular, once the bacteria have entered the bloodstream, they can give rise to sepsis or blood poisoning. If this goes untreated, it can progress further and cause organ failure and a potentially fatal drop in blood pressure.

 

What Tests Help to Detect a Staph Infection?

Staph infections affecting the skin are very common and these are identifiable by means of physical examination and simple tests. More serious conditions affecting the blood or organs such as the lungs, brain or heart would require dedicated diagnostic procedures in order to confirm the extent and severity of the infection. This requires blood tests and diagnostic imaging using ultrasounds or computerised tomography (CT). Procedures such as lumbar puncture (collection of cerebrospinal fluid) may be necessary in instances of involvement of the brain or spinal cord as in the case of meningitis.  

 

Treatment and Prevention

STAPH INFECTION sanitationTreatment 

  • Antibiotics – Your doctor may perform tests to understand the type of bacteria is causing the infection and then start you on the antibiotics course. The antibiotics generally used to treat the infection are – cephalosporin, nafcillin, sulfa drugs or vancomycin.
  • Wound drainage – This is done to drain the fluid that has accumulated in the wound.
  • Device removals – If the infection involves a device or a prosthetic, then the doctor will remove it. In some cases, removal surgeries are done.

Prevention 

  • Clean and cover your wound. If you have the slightest and smallest cut or wound, make sure to clean it thoroughly and cover it immediately to prevent it from getting a staph infection.
  • Maintain proper hygiene. This is an important prevention method as most bacteria and infections that we get in our lives are because we do not maintain proper hygiene.
  • Avoid sharing personal items. This infection can spread from person to person. Make sure to keep your clothes and bedding thoroughly clean.
  • Wash up before and after a hospital visit. Since this infection is more common in hospitals and healthcare facilities. The healthcare officials are rather particular and strict about hygiene. Make sure that you wash your hands before and after going to the healthcare facility and the washroom.

 

Facts

  • Staphylococcus was first identified in 1880 in Scotland, by surgeon Sir Alexander Ogston in pus from a surgical abscess in a knee joint.
  • The name of the bacterium is derived from the Greek-Latin words “staphyl” meaning “a bunch of grapes” and “coccos” meaning “berry.”

Facts

  • Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria are resistant to all beta-lactam antibiotics including – penicillin, methicillin, amoxicillin and oxacillin.
  • Men above the age of 50 are at a higher risk of having this type of bacteria.

Facts

  • These bacteria are present in 1 in 4 healthy people (especially present in the nose and throat).
  • The initial symptoms of Staph infection can be mistaken for spider bites.

Related Conditions

Want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Subscribe to free FactDr newsletters.

REVAMP YOUR

If you're enjoying our website, we promise you'll absolutely love our new posts. Be the first one to get a copy!

Get factually correct, actionable tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

I want the latest scoop on :

We hate spam too. We will never share your email address with anyone. If you change your mind later, you can unsubscribe with just one click

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the FactDr Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of FactDr subscriptions at any time.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Use gentle body wash.
  • Practice proper hygiene.
  • Add an oatmeal bath product to the bathtub and soak for a while.
Don'ts
  • Share personal items.
  • Neglect skin sores.
  • Leave the infected area open.

 

 

 

Related Conditions

Trending Topics

anal sex
Anal Sex : Tips from experts on how to be kinky yet safe Whether it irks you or stokes your fantasies, anal sex has always been an intriguing sexual act. Learn…
diverticulitis diet
Diverticulitis diet: The right way to eat if you suffer from the disease Are you suffering from diverticultis but clueless about your diet ? Read this complete plan for diverticulitis diet…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can it protect you…
Penis pump: Pump your way out of erectile dysfunction One of the options to treat erectile dysfunction is by the use of a penis pump. It is…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
Maltitol: Things you must know about this artificial sweetener Sugar alcohols are produced by fruits and vegetables. Maltitol is an artificially produced sugar alcohol and is used…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
Clitoris: Why is it called the gateway to toe-curling female orgasms? The word clitoris comes from the Greek word kleitoris or “little hill.”  Many compare the female clitoris to…
apple cider vinegar weight loss
Apple cider vinegar: Weight loss, shinier hair, and more! Did you know that apple cider vinegar, produced by the simple fermentation of apple juice, could hold the…
Lectin: The common link of proteins between peas and people Lectins are a type of protein that are found majorly in legumes. Most people are find it easy…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
Find the G spot: The top sex positions that guarantee an orgasm There has been a long debate as to whether the G-spot actually exists as a separate organ.  Can…
dandelion health benefits
Dandelion: Little parachutes of health and wellness for your whole body Dandelions are not just bright looking blossoms that cheer your mind. These are powerpacked with essential nutrients that…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
Female Masturbation: Tips on how to turn up the heat during a solo mission As a female, do you find yourself constantly wondering as to what is the best way to please…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
eating myths debunked
8 ‘healthy eating’ myths you believed until now Is a zero-carb diet really healthy for you? Are organic products worth their cost? Did you know how…
about mediterranean diet
Why you should be adopting a Mediterranean style of diet today Ever wondered why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy? One simple solution to lowering risk of several deadliest…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
lifestyle diseases
The Big 5 lifestyle diseases: How your everyday living might be killing you You'd be shocked to know how unhealthy and potentially fatal your everyday routine could be. Has the modern…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
Garlic health benefits cloves
Garlic: Nature’s white pill as an effective home remedy What are the secrets hidden in these tiny white pills? Find out the immense health benefits of using…
The right way to prepare Alfalfa sprouts at home Alfalfa or lusan ghas is not just a nutritious animal fodder. This flavonoid-rich herb has some amazing health…
How can Kegels help you overcome weak pelvic muscles & incontinence? Kegel exercises are pelvic floor strengthening exercises that can help you overcome incontinence issues that rise out of…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the vagus nerve and…
nature health benefits
Green Healing: The amazing health benefits of being in nature You have no idea what sitting in a closed room does to your body and mind.Can a stroll…
turmeric skin
We bet you didn’t know that turmeric could be this beneficial! Did you know that turmeric, a humble ingredient found in most Indian kitchens could cure countless ailments and…
Keto diet healthy
Keto Diet: Did you know you could eat fats to burn fats? Keto diet - A wonder diet that lets you eat fats and lose weight too! Read on to…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
CLA: A breakthrough weight loss supplement with minimal side effects Tried every weight loss supplement in the market with no substantial gain? Why not try CLA supplements, derived…
back pain relief
Don’t choose pain: 10 truths about your back ache (and how to get relief) Back pain is one of the most common ailments in the world. Almost 80% of the entire global…
Pumpkin Seeds: Why pumpkins are more than just for pies! Pumpkins have been long associated with Halloween carvings and delicious pies. But did you know that pumpkin seeds…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an inexplicable emotional numbness…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
BRAT Diet: What is the right way to follow this diarrhea-relieving diet? BRAT diet, a simple diet consisting of just bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, can help you combat the…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
erectile dysfunction treatment
Erectile Dysfunction: Effective tips to help you get back on charge Erectile dysfunction is a common male sexual dysfunction. Don't stress out. Just follow these amazing tips to get…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
Spirulina: Battle diabetes and cholesterol with this blue-green algae Spirulina, a species of salt water algae, has now become a billion dollar industry. How you can use…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket The dragon fruit is packed with nutrients and yet low on calories and is the dream food that…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
How accurate is the hair follicle drug test? Hair follicle drug test is one of the best ways to identify drug use in professional circles. But…
Is this is the real life? Is this just fantasy? – Decoding the myths of lucid dreaming Lucid dreaming or dreaming with a state of awareness has often intrigued the minds of experts worldwide. Do…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
oral hygiene tips
6 shocking consequences of bad oral hygiene (and how to avoid them) Did you know bad breath is not just turning off, but also harms your body in ways you…
Fluoride: An indispensible mineral or a potential toxin ? Fluoride, the main ingredient of toothpaste, has shown a great potential as a cleanser. However, how much fluoride…
Military diet
Military Diet : Why following a highly restrictive diet is a bad idea Is seiging your calorie intake the right way to attack fats? Read more about Military diet, a highly…
Tea Tree Oil : The one stop cure for skin ailments and more… The popularity of tea tree oil, an essential oil, as the ultimate skin care pick is not unheard…
Chromium Picolinate: An essential mineral supplement for faster weight loss Did you know that about 1.6 million deaths were directly linked to diabetes globally? How is it linked…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Experts reveal, how long does marijuana actually stay in your system… Weed or marijuana is one of the most widely abused recreational drug. But did you know how long…
What is the average penis size and why should you care? Scientifically speaking, the average size of the penis depends on numerous factors such as genes, environmental circumstances, etc.
Internal bleeding brain
Beware: Ignoring these tell-tale signs of stroke could cost a life The signs and symptoms of a stroke differ depending on which part of the brain has been affected.…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
ashwagandha brain
Ashwagandha: The best-kept secret of Ayurveda now revealed! Ashwagandha literally means "smell of horse". Don't get bogged down by that one tiny detail because this ayurveduic…
Isagenix diet
Isagenix Diet: Do you really need liquid meal replacements to lose weight? Isagenix Diet - What are liquid meal replacements and why is the world going ga-ga over them? Are…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
V for Vagina: How well do you know this extraordinary part of the female anatomy? Vagina - a simple part of the human anatomy that has often created a feeling of either digust…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
tips for perfect sleep
Stop hitting the snooze button: 8 proven steps to perfect sleep Are you tired of not getting enough sleep? All your efforts for a sound sleep going in vain?…
MANUKA HONEY child
Manuka Honey Manuka honey is a specific type of honey produced by honey bees that collect nectar from the flowers…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen anytime. Follow these…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
Improve sex life
9 best tips from around the world for better sex life How can the pungent-smelling garlic pack in a punch to your libido? How could something as slimy as…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
Quinine: How gin and tonic came to be known as a potent health elixir The discovery of quinine-containing tree bark is sometimes considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of the 17th century.
Vitamin C: The instant health benefits of adding the citrusy goodness to your diet Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that cannot be synthesized in your body and has to be obtained…
cancer facts
8 hard-hitting truths no one tells you about cancer Did you know that 1.5 million new cases of cancer are reported every year? Can second-hand smoking kill…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know some of the…
quinoa salad
Quinoa : A prodigious superfood you need to include in your diet today! Quinoa - what is so special about this native South American grain that has taken the world by…
understanding addiction
Addiction explained: An obsession that could cost you your life Is addiction a behavioral disorder? Or is it a chronic disease? How does addiction cause chemical and structural…
TBHQ: A carcinogen lingering in your child’s favorite snacks TBHQ - Why you should shun the practice of eating instant noodles or microwave popcorn to get rid…
DASH Diet: What to eat in a “Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension”? If you or your loved one is suffering from chronic hypertension (high blood pressure), dash towards a DASH…
The real reason why you shouldn’t be eating ramen noodles Instant ramen noodles might be your go-to snack for your hunger pangs. But with each spoonful you are…
Colloidal silver benefits
Colloidal silver: An essential dietary supplement or yet another pharmaceutical hoax? Colloidal silver is hailed as an effective home remedy for infections. Many believe it can treat HIV and…
What is the eustachian tube and how does it help you maintain body balance? Pressure equalization, mucus drainage and protecting the middle ear from bacteria and viruses are the three important functions…
GERD heartburn
Heartburn: What are the exact symptoms and the best home remedies? There are easy home remedies for heartburn, which not only acts as a first aid when you experience…
Benefits of exercise: Top reasons why you should be sweating it out more in the gym Are you leading a sedentary life and still not motivated enough to get up from your couch and…
TRX: Why is this total resistance workout the best choice for your body? TRX or total resistance exercise is a form of exercise where suspension belts are used to produce that…