Many people worry about getting staph infections because they hear about staph infection horror stories on the news. Staph, MRSA, and flesh-eating bacteria can all be used as fear tactics on the nightly news, but there are many misconceptions about these infections.
While there is some truth to the scary information that’s out there, it’s important to know how to prevent and treat staph infections and other superbugs so they don’t become critical. It’s also important to understand how bacteria work, and how to treat them properly so they don’t become resistant to antibiotics. Although some people really can and do die from staph infections, this is not a common occurrence. With the right precautions and treatments, you can protect yourself from life-threatening staph infections.
Types of Staph Infection
There are over thirty types of staph bacteria, or Staphylococcus, but Staphylococcus aureus is the most common type. A staph infection can cause a wide range of uncomfortable and scary health conditions, including skin infections, pneumonia, food poisoning, toxic shock syndrome, blood poisoning. The staph bacteria usually causes skin infections which start as small boils or blisters. The boils grow around a hair follicle or oil gland, usually near the arms or groin area. If left untreated, these red, swollen bumps can become cellulitis, which is a swollen, raw patch of skin, or impetigo, which turns infected skin into a flaky crust.
Complications from Staph
Infants are especially at risk since their immune systems are delicate. They may develop scalded skin syndrome, which causes fever, blisters, and a painful rash that may look like a burn. Septic arthritis is another serious health problem that is caused by staph infections. The bacteria can affect your knees, ankles, hips, wrists, elbows, or shoulders and symptoms include joint swelling, sharp joint pain, fever, and chills.
Prevention is key to avoiding staph infections. While you can’t always prevent them, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of infection. To keep yourself safe, you need to practice good hygiene. Always keep hands and wounds as clean as possible. Treat cuts, scrapes, and open wounds promptly, and go to the doctor if you have a wound that looks infected and/or is not healing quickly.
Anytime you have a patch of swollen, irritated skin, blisters filled with pus, or a high fever, contact a doctor as soon as possible, as these are signs of a possible staph infection. If you use tampons for your feminine hygiene, make sure to change tampons regularly. You can also get a staph infection if you make contact with an infected person or an object that has staph bacteria, so contact a doctor immediately if you and people you know develop staph infections within a short amount of time.