Bacterial Infection Information

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Bacterial Staph Infection

The Staphylococcus aureus bacteria is very common, and is found on the skin or in the noses or genital and anal areas of about 20% of the population, yet is mostly harmless and causes no problems. Bacterial staph infection, often just shortened to ‘staf’, ranges from simple skin irritations such as boils, right thru to flesh eating infections that are particularly difficult to treat.

Cuts and abrasions are the most common method of contracting a bacterial staph infection, the bacteria enters the wound and begins to produce toxins that damage surrounding cells, and which the human immune system struggles to fight, and often requiring antibacterial soap or antibiotics to clear.

Staph Bacteria

The bacteria is also airborne and can survive on surfaces that come into contact with humans such as doorknobs, kitchen bench tops, and in bedding or clothes, making an easy transition to other humans it comes into contact with. Staph infections are relatively rare in healthy individuals, but in elderly or otherwise ill people they can quickly set off an infection.

Symptoms of a bacterial staph infection tend to most obviously noticed on the skin first, usually small pus filled bumps or abscesses, boils, styes in the eyes, or blisters and red scabby skin around the nose and mouth. Staph infections left untreated can spread to internal organs. Thoroughly washing cuts and breaks in the skin with soap and water is recommended, thereafter keeping the wound clean to prevent subsequent infection.

Generally the treatment for a localized skin infection caused by the staph bacteria will be a wash with a cleanser containing an antibacterial soap or cleanser, followed by the application of a topical antibiotic ointment, and then applying a plaster or dressing to keep the area clean.

In more serious cases bacterial staph infection can spread to the lungs, the heart, the spinal cord and brain, the vagina and the blood system, and is a known cause of pneumonia, meningitis, endocarditis, toxic shock syndrome, and septicemia. Often the staph infection will enter the body directly at the point of infection rather than travel from the skin, making diagnosis more difficult without blood samples.

Staph infections that travel beyond the skin to other organs are always of concern, and will often require immediate hospitalization, and will often be found unconscious making diagnosis more difficult, and staph infections that start on the skin should be noted by the patient or people surrounding them to ensure quicker response in the hospital setting.

Recently many of the staph bacteria have developed resistance to antibiotics, and when they do the term MRSA (methicillin resistant Staph aureus) is used, leading to a lot of panic about this ‘new disease’, in fact MRSA is not a disease, simply a resistant strain of staph bacteria, and infection cannot be treated with normal antibiotics, instead requiring an antibiotic thru intravenous drip.

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), which only affects women, can be caused by bacterial staph infection and is potentially fatal. The risk of contracting TSS is considered low in most cases, the majority of women having enough natural antibodies to prevent the infection.

February 17, 2009   No Comments