Staph

causes-staph A staph infection is caused by a Staphylococcus (or staph) bacteria. Actually, about 25% of people normally carry staph in the nose, mouth, genitals, or anal area, and don’t have symptoms of an infection. The foot is also very prone to picking up bacteria from the floor. The infection often begins with a little cut, which gets infected with bacteria. This can look like honey-yellow crusting on the skin.

  These staph infections range from a simple boil to antibiotic-resistant infections to flesh-eating infections. The difference between all these is the strength of the infection, how deep it goes, how fast it spreads, and how treatable it is with antibiotics. The antibiotic-resistant infections are more common in North America, because of our overuse of antibiotics.

staph-prevention You can take steps to help prevent staph infections. Any time you have a cut or skin breakdown, wash it with soap and water, keep it clean and dry, and keep it covered. A couple of recent outbreaks among football players began when one team member had a boil and the infection was spread to other team members.  A staph infection is contagious if the wound is weeping or draining and if people share towels or other items that are contaminated. Wearing foot coverings in locker rooms and other commonly used areas can help prevent contamination.

  If the sore becomes unusually painful or red, get prompt medical attention. If red lines develop, thats a sign the infection is spreading and needs immediate medical attention.

 
SOURCES: Luis Ostrosky-Zeichner, MD, infectious disease specialist, University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Mayo Clinic.
Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on September 02, 2014
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