Staph Infection Risk Factors, Prevention And Treatment Options


Staphylococcus bacteria are what cause staph infections. Many healthy people frequently have these kinds of bacteria on their skin or in their noses. These bacteria frequently do not harm someone or only cause very small skin diseases.

However, if the germs spread farther into your body and get into your circulation, joints, bones, lungs, or heart, staph infections might become fatal. A rising proportion of seemingly healthy people are getting staph infections that can be fatal.

Antibiotics and cleansing of the affected area are typically the mainstays of treatment. However, certain staph infections stop responding to standard drugs or develop a resistance to them. Health care professionals may have to use drugs that have greater adverse effects to treat staph infections that are resistant to common treatments.


Numerous individuals have staph germs on their skin or in their noses but never have an illness. However, there is a significant likelihood that the bacterium that caused your staph infection was something you have been carrying about for a while.

Additionally, staph bacteria can be passed from person to person. Staph germs are so resilient that they may survive on items like towels or pillows for an extended period of time before spreading to the next person who touches them.

Staph bacteria may infect you and make you ill. Additionally, the poisons that the bacteria create might make you unwell.

How to check if you have Staph Infection?

Consult a medical professional if you or your child has:

  • A patch of skin that is red, itchy, or uncomfortable.
  • Blisters with pus
  • Fever

Additionally, you might want to consult your healthcare provider if:

  • Family members are contracting skin illnesses from one another.
  • There are concurrent skin illnesses in two or more members of the family.

Risk Factors

Your chance of contracting staph infections can be influenced by a variety of variables, such as the state of your immune system or the kinds of sports you do.

Underlying medical issues

You may be more susceptible to contracting staph infections if you have certain diseases or take certain drugs to treat them. Those with the following conditions may be more susceptible to contracting staph infections:

  • Insulin users with diabetes
  • Dialysis is necessary due to kidney failure
  • Immune systems that are weakened, either as a result of illness or immunosuppressive drugs
  • A replacement
  • Those with cancer, especially those receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment
  • Skin damage brought on by ailments like eczema, bug bites, or small injuries that cause skin to split open
  • Respiratory diseases of the lungs, such as emphysema or cystic fibrosis

Staph bacteria continue to exist in hospitals despite significant efforts to eradicate them, where they can infect those who are most susceptible to illness. This can apply to anyone with:

  • Compromised immunity
  • Surgical wounds and burns

People who are admitted to the hospital may occasionally be tested to check if they have staph germs. A nasal swab is used for screening. To aid in infection prevention and lessen the spread to others, treatment to eradicate the bacteria may be used.

Implanted and invasive devices

Staph germs can move via medical tubes and enter the body. These gadgets establish a link between your body's inside and exterior. Examples include

  • Bladder catheters
  • Intravenous catheters are tubes inserted into veins.

Implanted devices serve as a magnet for germs, which develop there and spread illness. These comprise surgically inserted gadgets like:

  • Synthetic joints
  • Ventricular pacemakers
  • Athletic contact

Cuts, scratches, and skin-to-skin contact are all simple ways for staph bacteria to spread. Shared razors, towels, clothing, or equipment in the locker room can potentially transmit staph infections.

Preparation of unclean food

People who handle food improperly can spread staph germs from their skin to the food they are cooking. Food contains germs that grow and generate poisons that can make you sick. Bacteria can be destroyed by cooking. However, the meal still contains the poisons. Staph-contaminated foods have no distinctive flavour or appearance.


Staph infections can cause everything from mild skin issues to serious sickness. Staph bacteria, for instance, can cause endocarditis, a dangerous infection of the endocardium, the inside lining of your heart. The location and intensity of the infection can affect the signs and symptoms of staph infections.

Skin maladies

Among the skin illnesses brought on by staph bacteria are:

Boils. The most frequent staph infection symptom is a boil. A pus-filled pocket that develops in an oil gland or hair follicle is known as this. Skin surrounding the afflicted area swells and turns red.

If a boil breaks open, pus will probably start to ooze from it. Boils mostly develop in the groin, buttocks, and underarms.

Impetigo. Staph bacteria may be the cause of this rash. Large blisters that may exude fluid and form a crust with a honey color are typical of impetigo.

Cellulitis. An infection of the deeper skin layers is called cellulitis. On the surface of your skin, it results in redness and swelling. Additionally, sores or patches of drainage may appear.

Scalded skin condition due to staphylococci. Toxins produced by the staph bacteria can result in staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome. A fever, rash, and occasionally blisters are symptoms of this condition, which typically affects newborns and young children. As the blisters burst, the top layer of skin is removed. It leaves a red, unfinished surface that resembles a burn.

Foodborne illness

One of the most frequent causes of food poisoning is staph bacteria. In food, bacteria grow and create poisons that can harm you. In most cases, symptoms appear shortly after consuming a contaminated food. The majority of the time, symptoms only persist for a half-day.

A staph infection from food does not result in a fever. You may look out for the following signs and symptoms of this form of staph infection:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Bacteremia

Bacteremia, also called a bloodstream infection, happens when staph bacteria get into the circulation. Bacteremia can be identified by a fever and low blood pressure. Deep within your body, the germs can move to produce diseases that impact:

  • Internal organs like your heart (endocarditis), lungs (pneumonia), or brain (meningitis)
  • Muscles and bones
  • Devices that are surgically inserted, including prosthetic joints or cardiac pacemakers
  • Toxic shock condition

Toxins released by some staph bacterium strains cause this potentially fatal illness. Surgery, skin injuries, and several types of tampons have all been associated with the illness. It manifests suddenly with:

  • Having a fever
  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • A rash that resembles a sunburn on your soles and palms
  • Confusion
  • Muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

Bacterial arthritis

Staph infections can lead to septic arthritis. The bacteria frequently attack the fingers or toes, shoulders, hips, and knees. Infected artificial joints are another possibility. Some warning signs and symptoms include:

  • Joint enlargement
  • Severe discomfort in the injured joint fever


You may reduce your chance of contracting staph infections by taking these sensible precautions:

Sanitise your hands. Your best line of defense against germs is thorough hand washing. Wash your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Then use a paper towel to dry them off before using the towel to shut off the faucet. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if your hands are not obviously unclean or if you can not wash them.

Regular hand washing with soap and water should be done before, during and after handling raw meat or poultry, before eating, after using the lavatory and after coming into contact with an animal or animal waste.

Maintain wound cover. Keep scrapes and wounds clean and bandaged with sterile, dry bandages.Staph bacteria are frequently present in the pus from infected wounds. Covering wounds will prevent the germs from spreading.

Cut back on tampon dangers. Staph bacteria are the main cause of toxic shock syndrome. Staph bacteria can grow in tampons that have been there for a while. By replacing your tampon often, at least once every 4 to 8 hours, you can lessen your risk of developing toxic shock syndrome. Use tampons with the lowest possible absorbency. When feasible, try to switch between using tampons and sanitary towels.

Keep private objects private. Never trade personal items like clothing, athletic equipment, razors, towels, or beds. Both from person to person and on items, staph infections can spread.

Clean your linens and clothes. Clothes, towels, and mattresses can all harbor the staph bacteria. Items should be washed and dried at the hottest temperature suggested by the item labels to eradicate germs. It is ok if you can not use hot water since utilizing detergent in your wash will still clean and disinfect the objects so they may be used. On any substance that is bleach-safe, you can use bleach.

Observe food safety guidelines. Before handling food, wash your hands. Make sure hot meals stay hot—above 140 F (60 C)—if food will be out for a time. Make sure that cold meals are kept at or below 40 F (4.4 C). Keep leftovers in the fridge as soon as you can. Use soap and water to clean the counters and cutting boards.


Staph infection treatment options include:

Antibiotics. The staph bacteria causing your infection may be found with testing by your doctor. This might aid your doctor in selecting the antibiotic that will serve you the best. To treat staph infections, doctors frequently administer cefazolin, nafcillin, oxacillin, vancomycin, daptomycin, and linezolid.

Vancomycin may be necessary for staph infections that are severe. This is due to the fact that a large number of staph bacterium strains have developed resistance to other common antibiotics. This indicates that staph germs are now resistant to other antibiotics. It is necessary to provide vancomycin and several other medicines for staph infections that are resistant to other antibiotics intravenously.

Complete all prescribed medicines by your doctor. Ask your doctor what symptoms to look out for that might indicate that your infection is growing worse.

Drainage of a wound. If you have an infection on your skin, your doctor may make an incision to drain fluid that has built up in the sore. Furthermore, the area is carefully cleansed.

Remove the device. It may be necessary to remove the medical device right away if your infection includes one, such as a urine catheter, cardiac pacemaker, or artificial joint. Surgery can be necessary for the removal of some devices.

Staph bacteria are extremely flexible. Antibiotics no longer effectively treat many species. For instance, penicillin is no longer able to treat the majority of staph infections. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a common name for staph bacterium strains that are resistant to antibiotics.

(MRSA) subtypes. Due to the rise of strains that are resistant to antibiotics, IV medications with the potential for additional adverse effects are now being used, such as vancomycin or daptomycin.

Complications of Staph Infection

You might have an illness that affects your entire body if staph germs enter your bloodstream. This illness, known as sepsis, can result in septic shock. You are experiencing a potentially fatal episode when your blood pressure falls dangerously low.

If the germs spread throughout your body and get into your circulation, joints, bones, lungs, or heart, staph infections can potentially become fatal.

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Page last reviewed: Apr 27, 2023

Next review due: Apr 27, 2025

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