Staph infections, often misspelled as “staff” infections, are infections that come about as a result of untreated wounds. Most of the time, a simple Staph infection is relatively harmless and requires little to no treatment, but as we’ve all seen on the nightly news, there are many infectious bacteria, such as MRSA and flesh eating bacteria, that can be fatal.
More seriously, a Staph infection that gets into the bloodstream can cause sepsis, or infection of the blood. This can then lead to organ damage or failure as the tainted blood circulates around the body. It is important to know the facts about Staph infections, as well as how you can prevent a possible serious infection.
Preventing Staph Infections
In developing countries, bacterial infection is a serious concern. The issue here is with international travel being so common these days, bacteria is spreading all over the world. Even drug resistant bacteria can spread from one person to another.
E.Coli is an example of a well known bacteria that affects people around the world and can cause serious illness in people who have been infected. It is usually found in undercooked meats, but can affect vegetables as well.
Another example of a dangerous bacteria often found in developing countries is Brucellosis. Brucellosis can be found mostly in unpasteurized milk, as well as in some animals. This particular strain of bacteria can cause serious symptoms such as fever, which may return for months or years, as well as joint pain and night sweats.
Practicing good hygiene and treating wounds promptly are the keys to preventing a Staph infection. People should also seek immediate medical help if a wound looks to be infected. Catching a Staph infection in its early stages is essential in keeping it from causing severe symptoms and turning deadly.
While Staph infections are a cause for concern, there are other bacterial infections that can be far more serious, even in the early stages. These so called “super bugs” can cause severe illnesses such as tuberculosis, and include bacteria such as Enterococcus and Pseudomonas.
One of the major issues involved with eliminating these bacteria is that, due to the over prescribing of antibiotics, some strains have become resistant to conventional treatment. Also, due to their size and multiplication rate, some bacteria mutate and adapt quickly to survive in conditions where they would have otherwise died.
As stronger and more various antibiotics are used, the possibility for the bacteria to develop immunity increases, leaving the infected person to suffer longer. An example of a common bacteria that has been an ongoing challenge for medical professionals is Streptococcal pharyngitis, or Strep throat.
Scientists and healthcare providers have been working harder than ever to develop vaccines to stop these infections from occurring in the first place. The knowledge and technology available to the medical community is better than ever, but there is still a long way to go.
Many bacteria have developed defenses to ward off the body’s immune system. Some bacteria are encased in a capsule, which acts as a shield against the body’s defenses. Another way bacteria thrive is through biofilm.
Biofilm is a sticky substance that is secreted by bacteria in order to attach itself more securely to the body or to other bacteria. This makes it very difficult to treat and eradicate certain types of bacteria. Some bacteria even produce spores, which help it to thrive in difficult conditions. If left untreated, these spores will eventually go on to produce active bacterium.
As mentioned, antibiotics have been a double edged sword in the battle against bacteria. While antibiotics can knock out an infection fairly quickly, they also cause some bacteria to grow resistant to treatment.
This poses a serious problem for the medical community, due to many more strains of the same bacteria needing to be tracked down, studied, and treated. One solution to this growing problem is for the medical community to focus their efforts on developing treatments that don’t require the use of antibiotics, or at least treatments that don’t rely as heavily on antibiotics. Teaching and practicing good hygiene is also crucial in stopping the spread of bacteria, as is availability of proper medical care and education.
People worry about getting staph infections, and you hear about these on the news. Staph, MRSA, and flesh-eating bacteria are all big fear tactics on the nightly news. However, it’s important to know that there is some truth to the scary information that’s out there. People really can and do die from staph infections – just not that often. To keep yourself safe you need to practice good hygiene, treat cuts and scrapes promptly, and go to the doctor if you have a wound that looks infected and/or is not healing well. It’s not just staph you need to be concerned about, though, because there are other ‘superbugs’ out there, as well. These include the ones that cause tuberculosis, as well as Enterococcus and Pseudomonas.
They became superbugs because bacteria evolve very quickly due to their multiplication rates. They might not all be killed by an antibiotic, and those that survive build up a resistance, or an immunity to that antibiotic. They’ll need another or a stronger antibiotic to kill them, and in the meantime they can cause serious problems for anyone who comes into contact with them. That’s true of the Strep bacteria, as well, but scientists are working on a vaccine for that one that shows promise in mice and that doesn’t seem to have any serious side effects.
When it comes to understanding where these kinds of bacteria come from and how they evolve, humans have unfortunately had a hand in that. Every time a person is given an antibiotic for an infection, there is the potential for resistance and mutation of the bacteria that medication is trying to kill. When antibiotics are given out too easily and too often – for small infections that would have generally resolved themselves – there is greater potential for mutation and strengthening of bacteria. Fewer antibiotics need to be given out and better hygiene needs to be practiced in order to help ensure that these staph bacteria and the others that are similar don’t continue to evolve into something that is a serious threat to a large segment of society simply because people have been trying to keep them at bay.
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