What are the causes of staph infections?
Staph or Staphylococcus is a group of bacteria that is found over the skin of most individuals. Staph bacteria usually live inside the nose, but they do not cause an infection. Staph infections may turn deadly if the bacteria invade deeper into the body, entering the bloodstream, joints, bones, lungs, or heart. The causes of staph infections are as follows:
- Skin breaks: If an individual has a cut or wound, the bacteria may enter the body or blood and may cause an infection.
- Daily objects: They usually enter the body through daily used objects such as towels, clothing, door handles, equipment, remotes, and utensils. Direct contact with an infected sore or wound, or with personal care items such as razors, bandages, etc., are common routes of transmission.
- Food poisoning: Certain types of staph bacteria may also cause food poisoning by producing a toxin. The toxin is not contagious; however, food poisoning may affect groups of people who eat the same contaminated food. Food poisoning is one of the common causes of staph infections.
- Medical devices: Catheters, dialysis tubes, and feeding tubes can be contaminated in hospital settings, causing infections.
- Tampons: These when left in the body for a long time can increase the risk of Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS).
What are the common types of infections that staph bacteria may cause?
Staph bacteria may cause many types of infections, including:
- Skin infections: These are the most common causes of infection by staph bacteria. They may look like pimples or boils. They may be red, swollen, and painful. Sometimes, there may be pus or other drainages. They can also turn into impetigo (a crust on the skin) or into a swollen, red area of the skin that may feel hot called cellulitis.
- Bacteremia: It is an infection of the bloodstream. This may lead to sepsis, which is a very serious immune response to an infection.
- Bone and joint infections: They can cause pain, swelling, warmth, and redness in the infected area. Patients may also have chills and a fever.
- Pneumonia: Staph may infect the lungs and can cause pneumonia. Symptoms include a high fever, chills, and cough that doesn’t get better. Patients may also have chest pain and shortness of breath.
- Endocarditis: It is an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and valves. It causes flu-like symptoms: fever, chills, and fatigue. It also causes symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and fluid buildup in the arms or legs.
- Food poisoning or toxic shock syndrome (TSS): TSS is a life-threatening condition caused by toxins from certain types of bacteria. Food poisoning typically causes nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. Patients may lose too many fluids and may become dehydrated. TSS causes high fever, sudden low blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, and confusion. Patients may have a sunburn-like rash somewhere on the body. TSS can lead to organ failure.
What is MRSA?
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the most dangerous type of staph bacteria. MRSA is resistant to most prescription antibiotics that are usually given to patients, including methicillin, which is one of the strongest antibiotics available. If not treated, MRSA may spread rapidly throughout the body, and if it remains out of control, it may damage a person's lungs, heart, and joints. Some patients develop severe breathing disorders, endocarditis, and difficulty moving from the damage to their joints.
How staph infections are usually treated?
Antibiotics that may be used to treat staph infections are cefazolin, cefuroxime, cephalexin, Nallpen (nafcillin), Bactocill (oxacillin), dicloxacillin, vancomycin, Cleocin (clindamycin), rifampin, and Vibativ (telavancin).
- Depending on the type of infection, patients may get a cream, an ointment, oral medicines, or intravenous (IV) doses.
- Sometimes, an infected wound may be drained by the doctor. Surgery may be required for severe bone infections.
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are resistant to many antibiotics but may be treated successfully with proper skincare and antibiotics. MRSA can progress to life-threatening infections.
- A drug known as Bactroban (mupirocin) has been shown to be sometimes effective for treating and eliminating MRSA from the nose. It is applied inside the nostrils to kill the bacteria that stay there and eventually transfer to other parts through the fingers.
How to prevent staph infections?
The best way to avoid staph infection is to maintain good hygiene.
- Regularly washing of hands, particularly after working in the soil, is important.
- Preparing food with hygiene is important because food gets exposed to staph and a person may develop poisoning.
- Skin cuts should be treated immediately with soap, water, and a bandage.
- Menstruating women may reduce the risk of staph infections by frequently changing tampons (at least every four to eight hours) and using low-absorbency tampons and alternating sanitary pad and tampon use.
Top Staph Infection Causes Related Articles
Augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, Augmentin XR, Augmentin ES-600, Amoclan)Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid (Augmentin Amoclan, Augmentin XR, Augmentin ES-600) is an antibiotic used to treat middle ear infections, sore throat, sinus infection, bronchitis, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections. Side effects include abdominal discomfort, bloating, diarrhea, gas, headache, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.
ampicillinAmpicillin is an antibiotic used to treat infections caused by H. influenzae, N. gonorrhoea, E. coli, salmonella, shigella, streptococci, and certain strains of staphylococci. Common side effects of ampicillin include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rash, itching, headache, confusion and dizziness.
cefazolinCefazolin is a broad spectrum antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections, including respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, skin infections, biliary tract infections, bone and joint infections, genital infections, and others. Common side effects of cefazolin include injection site reactions, low blood pressure (hypotension), fainting (syncope), abdominal cramps and pain, loss of appetite (anorexia), diarrhea, gas (flatulence), heartburn, oral candida yeast infection (candidiasis), and others.
clindamycinClindamycin is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections including septicemia, pelvic inflammatory disease, abdominal, gynecological, respiratory tract, bone and joint, and skin and skin structure infections. Common side effects of clindamycin include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin reactions, jaundice, abnormal liver function test results, and others. Use clindamycin during pregnancy only if clearly needed. Avoid use when breastfeeding if possible.
colistinColistin is an antibiotic used to treat acute and chronic bacterial infections from susceptible strains of certain gram-negative bacteria. Colistin is toxic to the kidneys. Discontinue therapy if there are signs of impaired kidney function. Common side effects of colistin include dizziness, numbness and prickling sensation of skin (paresthesia), tingling of extremities and tongue, seizures, slurred speech, vertigo, decreased urine output, and increased blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and elevated creatinine.
ethyl alcoholEthyl alcohol intranasal is an antiseptic solution swabbed in the nostrils to kill Staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria that colonize the nasal passage. Common side effects of ethyl alcohol intranasal include redness (erythema), irritation, swelling, and pain. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not use ethyl alcohol intranasal in the eyes, on mucous membranes, as nasal spray, or if you have a history of nasal bleeding or irritation.
How Serious Is a Staph Infection?A Staphylococcus or staph infection is caused by a germ that may be found in 30% of healthy people’s noses. Most of the time, these bacteria do not cause any health problems. However, in some people, it may cause skin and other organ infections. Most often, staph causes minor skin infections such as a boil. However, if it enters into your bloodstream and other organs, it may turn out to be deadly.
Is a Staph Infection Contagious?A staph infection is caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. Staph can cause boils, food poisoning, cellulitis, toxic shock syndrome, MRSA, and various other illnesses and infections. Most staph infections are transmitted from person to person.
minocyclineMinocycline is a tetracycline antibiotic used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, typhus fever, respiratory tract infections, and others. It is also used to treat acne. Do not take if pregnant due to the risk of fetal harm. Do not take if breastfeeding. Common side effects of minocycline include fatigue, dizziness, vertigo, headache, fatigue, drowsiness (somnolence), convulsions, intracranial hypertension, fever, discoloration of secretions, tooth and oral cavity discoloration, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and others.
mupirocinMupirocin is an antibiotic that is used topically for the treatment of impetigo, MRSA, and staph infections. The nasal spray may be prescribed for individuals that come into contact with patients infected with MRSA, or other infectious diseases. Side effects are uncommon and mild with mupirocin. The most frequent side effects are burning, stinging, pain, and itching at the area of application.
silver sulfadiazineSilver sulfadiazine is a broad spectrum antimicrobial medication topically applied on burn wounds to prevent infection. Common side effects of silver sulfadiazine include rash, itching, pain, burning, skin discoloration, photosensitivity, red, raised lesions (erythema multiforme), skin tissue death (necrosis), Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrosis, exfoliative dermatitis, liver inflammation (hepatitis), and others. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Staph (Staphylococcus) InfectionStaphylococcus or staph is a group of bacteria that can cause a multitude of diseases. Staph infections can cause illness directly by infection or indirectly by the toxins they produce. Symptoms and signs of a staph infection include redness, swelling, pain, and drainage of pus. Minor skin infections are treated with an antibiotic ointment, while more serious infections are treated with intravenous antibiotics.
What Is a Staph Infection?Do you know what a staph infection is? What about golden staph? Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of staph infections (Staphylococcus aureus) before they become dangerous Staphylococcus infection complications like endocarditis or toxic shock syndrome.
Unasyn (ampicillin and sulbactam)Unasyn is indicated for the treatment of infections due to susceptible strains of the designated microorganisms in conditions such as skin and skin structure infections, intra-abdominal infections, and gynecological infections.
What Happens If a Bartholin Abscess Bursts?Bartholin abscess is a pocket of pus that builds up over the Bartholin glands in females. If a Bartholin abscess bursts, it may resolve on its own in a few days without treatment. However, it is advisable to visit the doctor to avoid the spread of the infection.
What Is the Main Cause of Cellulitis?Cellulitis is a common skin infection that can sometimes lead to fatal illness. Learn the signs of cellulitis, and what to do if you have it.