Staphylococcus “staph” is a bacteria group that causes wide range of disease by resulting to infection in the tissues in the different body parts. The illnesses can be mild which require no treatment or severe which could even lead to death. Staphylococci have more than 30 types of species infecting humans but the most infectious is the Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococci are found normally in the nose and skin of 25% to 30% in healthy individuals. But the bacteria can overcome the body’s natural protective mechanism leading to infection.
A staph infection can develop to anyone but breast feeding women, newborn infants and people with chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, lung disease and vascular disease are more at risk in developing a staph infection. Also, those with skin disorders, surgical incisions, intravenous catheters, injecting drug users and those immunocompromised patients have increased risk in having staph infection.
Staph infection in the skin results to collection of pus locally known as abscess, furuncle or boil. The affected area is swollen, red and painful. Pus or drainage is common. If a blood infection or sepsis happens, the patient experiences chills, fever, and low blood pressure.
Staph infections are diagnosed through their appearance without the need of doing laboratory works. However, serious staph infection such as bloodstream infection, endocarditis and pneumonia requires infected fluids or blood samples for culturing. The laboratory finalizes the diagnosis and determines the right antibiotic effective for the certain bacteria.
Skin infections that are minor are usually treated with topical antibiotic ointments like non-prescription triple-antibiotic mixture. Oral antibiotics are also given in some cases. If there are abscesses, they are drained surgically. If the infection developed into a serious and life threatening one, intravenous antibiotics are given. The susceptibility of the staphylococcus will determine the kind of antibiotic to be given through the result of the culture. The MRSA, a staph strain is resistant to a lot of antibiotics.
There is no vaccine available to fight Staphylococcus aureus. This kind of bacteria is widespread which causes different diseases, therefore, it is important to pay attention to the risk factors involved to know the kind of prevention needed. For example, a menstruating woman can prevent infection by changing tampons or sanitary pad every four or eight hours. Careful handling in food and in preparation of food reduces the risk of developing staph infection from food poisoning. Regular hand washing, avoiding skin contact to a suspected infected person, proper hygiene especially if a wound is present through cuts, scrapes can all help in reducing the likelihood to staph skin infection.
Staph skin infection has a side effect and it is potentially serious. It is called as scalded skin syndrome where in after a staph infection, a protein is produced loosening the “cement” holding the different skin layers. This causes sloughing of the skin’s top layer and forms blisters. It occurs in the large regions of the body and it is deadly. It is like a large part of the body being burned. It is treated with intravenous antibiotics. It is important to keep the skin hydrated especially if a large area was peeled off.