There are numerous types of bacteria that live on the skin of humans. Most of these are perfectly normal, and are found on everyone. One of these is called the staphylococci, including S. epidermidis. Problems come in when these bacteria enter the body and the bloodstream. Understanding what causes a staph infection can help everyone be less afraid and know what to do when it does happen.
Staphylococcus bacteria are found on the skin and in the mucus membranes. They are on everyone, regardless of how healthy you are. These bacteria usually cause no harm at all, or they might lead to minor skin infections when you have a cut or a scrape. Cleaning the area well can help prevent even this minor infection from staph.
But if these bacteria are allowed to invade your body, such as through a cut that has not been cleaned or some other means, they can cause serious problems with your joints, bones, lungs and heart. They travel through the bloodstream and can wind up anywhere, causing havoc in your body and even threatening your life.
If you have frequent injuries to the skin, especially if your skin is routinely dry, staph infections are more likely to occur. They are also more likely to occur among the elderly, young children, or healthcare workers. There are also greater chances of getting infected by staph among those who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney failure, malnutrition, blood disorders, alcoholism, anemia; those who use intravenous drugs, those on certain medications that suppress the immune system, or those who have otherwise compromised immune systems due to medical issues. Improper cleaning of wounds can also lead to a serious infection, even if a person is completely healthy otherwise.
What is staph infection? Remember that anyone can develop a staph infection, but there are some who are more susceptible to it than others.
The symptoms of a staph infection can vary from one person to another, depending upon the severity of the infection and where it is located on the body. The following are some of the most common staph infections and how to spot them.
There are numerous ways that staph can show itself on the skin. These include boils, or pockets of pus that grow around a follicle or hair gland. Impetigo, a painful rash, or cellulitis, an infection deeper in the skin, can also be a problem. These often include blisters, oozing and red skin, and ulcers. Scalded skin syndrome can also occur looking like a burn.
Eating contaminated food is a common way to get a staph infection. These infections tend to last for a short period of time, but can include severe vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, low blood pressure, dehydration and abdominal pain.
Linked to skin wounds, surgery and the use of tampons, this presents very suddenly with symptoms that include nausea and vomiting, a high fever, sunburn-like rash, muscle aches, abdominal pain, diarrhea and confusion.
Also known as bacteremia, this particular form of staph infection can lead to fever and low blood pressure. These infections can affect your heart and lungs, bones and muscles, and areas where surgical devices are implanted, such as pacemakers or artificial joints.
Though this often shows up first in the knees, it can affect other joints as well. Symptoms include severe pain in the affected joint, swelling of the joints or area around it, and fever.
Note: If you or your child has a problem with red, irritated skin, fever, and blisters that are filled with pus, it’s time to see a doctor. Also mention to your doctor if there are rashes being passed around members of the family, or if more than one person has the same problem at the same time.
Staph infections used to respond very well to antibiotics, but over the years, these medications have become less effective. As a result, doctors are constantly looking for more potent medications to help combat the problem. If strong antibiotics don’t work well, then another option is cleaning out the infection by surgical means. Drainage of pus collections and removal of foreign bodies that may cause persisting infection can be considered when ne. Besides, if there are some underlying skin diseases like atopic eczema, you need to seek related medical help to treat that disease. But of course, the best treatment is always prevention.
What is staph infection's way of transmission?The best way to prevent staph infection is through basic hygiene practices. Wash your hands often, especially:
When you have an area of infection or an open wound, do your best to clean it properly, and keep good hygiene along the way.
If you are living with or caring for someone who has a suspected staph infection – or any type of infection, for that matter – take steps to protect yourself. These steps should include not sharing personal items with them, such as linens or toothbrushes; wash your hands immediately before and after coming into contact with them; and make sure their bedding, clothing and other items are washed daily with hot water and bleach. These steps not only protect you, but they can also help the person you are caring for get the infection under control.