In a few rare cases, a staph infection (frequently misspelled as ‘staff infection’) can proliferate uncontrollably, leading to intense sickness or even death. This can occur when one is infected with a specific strain of staph infection, called Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that has developed immunity to antibiotics. Normally beneficial treatments are rendered useless when presented with this particular strain of bacteria.
So how did this strain of bacteria develop immunity to the powerful antibiotics that modern science has produced? Many medical professionals fear that MRSA has gained such strength due to humans’ overuse of antibiotics for illness and antibacterial soap for hand and body washing. These scientists and doctors believe that MRSA has developed through simple natural selection.
A new bacterium with genetic resistance to antibiotics was formed out of random mutation, and this bacterium swiftly gained prominence as its genetic antibiotic protection allowed it to proliferate and thrive. Because many people use antibiotics and antibacterial soap so frequently, the only bacteria that are able to grow are those that develop resistance to our drugs, leading to an unusually high concentration of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
In recent years, the amount of staph infections has been on the rise. Doctors and scientists are very concerned about this increase in infections and illnesses. Previously, it was primarily only vulnerable people that seemed to suffer from staph infections, with illnesses most commonly seen in newborn babies, breastfeeding mothers, and people with chronic diseases such as diabetes or cancer. However, there has recently been an increase of staph infections in perfectly strong and healthy people.
How Staph is Spread
Scientists believe that this has been caused by modern hobbies and leisure activities where people are in close contact with one another. For instance, high school students who participate in a wrestling program or football team can easily cause the disease to proliferate through skin-to-skin contact. A simple boil caused by a staph infection can be extremely contagious, and people can oftentimes spread the disease without being aware of it. For example, people in the military or college students living in a dormitory can easily spread a staph infection amongst those around them due to their constant contact with other people. This is why it is so vital that all people know about staph infections’ symptoms and implications. One should be familiar with the warning signs of a staph infection so that he or she can receive treatment before accidentally spreading this harmful disease to other people.
However, if staph infections are known to primarily harm persons who are vulnerable in the first place, one might wonder why healthy people should be concerned if they contract this disease. After all, shouldn’t the body be capable of defending itself against such an infection if it is aided by modern medicine? Unfortunately, the treatment-resistant MRSA strain of staph infections is becoming more and more prevalent in modern society. The bacteria are thriving in places that are utilized by multiple people, such as workout facilities or intensive care hospitals, and are becoming stronger against the body’s natural defenses.
New Tools to Fight Staph
Scientists have developed new types of antibiotics that seem to take effect against some MRSA infections. To treat mild infections, the outbreak is first drained, and the patient is then administered an antibiotic such as vancomycin or linezolid. As time goes on, MRSA infections have begun to gain resistance to even these drugs, but scientists are continually developing new antibiotics that they hope will eventually eliminate staph infections altogether.
This does not mean that one should not allow his or her child to participate in close-contact sports, or should avoid public hospitals from fear of contracting a staph infection. With the ingenious progressions that science is making every day, specialists are sure to discover a cure for these infections at some point in our lives.
One should take care to reduce his or her likelihood of receiving a staph infection. Whenever one receives a cut or abrasion, the wound should be washed thoroughly and spread with antibiotic ointment. Careful food preparation practices can help reduce the risk of staph bacteria in one’s meals. Women who use tampons should change them frequently to avoid staph-induced toxic shock syndrome. By maintaining good sanitary practices, one can help reduce his or her likelihood of receiving a staph infection.
It’s surprisingly – and unfortunately – easy to get a staph infection. Every person has staph bacteria on their bodies. It lives on the skin and in the mucous membranes. It’s supposed to be there and it doesn’t usually cause any problem. However, if it builds up too much or if it’s allowed to enter through a cut or abrasion in the skin, it can cause an infection. Most of these are small skin infections like pimples or boils, and they aren’t dangerous.
There are cases, though, where a staph infection gets out of hand, and people have died from it. Some staph, called MRSA, is resistant to antibiotics, and scientists and doctors worry that overuse of antibiotics for illness and also antibacterial soap for hand and body washing is driving some of the resistance that various bacteria are developing. There is no official proof of this, but there seem to be more people today who are having problems with staph infections, where this was not an issue in the past. Originally, any prevalence of staph infection at all was seen in hospitals where there are many sick people all in one space. It only makes sense that people there could get staph infections and that nurses and doctors could accidentally pass them along to other patients.
In recent years, there has been a disturbing new trend in staph infections, and that has doctors worried. These infections are being seen in young, healthy people who should not be getting them, such as athletes and the military. It’s believed that this is becoming more common because these people are in such close quarters with one another so much of the time and locker rooms or dorms can become infected quite quickly. Still, though, if these people are healthy, why are they getting these infections? It appears that the bacteria are getting stronger and are developing ways to get around the resistance that humans have naturally built up to them. It’s not a serious cause for alarm, but it’s worth paying attention to. The easiest and best way to avoid a staph infection is still the old standby – wash your hands.
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