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What is Staph Infection?

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Lorenzo

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What is Staph Infection?
« on: July 11, 2012, 01:32:54 PM »
Staph infections are caused by staphylococcus bacteria, a type of germ commonly found on the skin or in the nose of even healthy individuals. Most of the time, these bacteria cause no problems or result in relatively minor skin infections.

But staph infections can turn deadly if the bacteria invade deeper into your body, entering your bloodstream, joints, bones, lungs or heart.

In the past, a lethal staph infection might have occurred in a person who was hospitalized or had a chronic illness or weakened immune system. Now, a growing number of otherwise healthy people are developing life-threatening staph infections. And many staph infections no longer respond to common antibiotics.

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Lorenzo

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Re: What is Staph Infection?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2012, 01:33:24 PM »
Staph infections can range from minor skin problems to endocarditis, a life-threatening infection of your heart valve lining. As a result, signs and symptoms of staph infections vary widely, depending on the location and severity of the infection.

Skin infections
Skin infections caused by staph bacteria include:

    Boils. The most common type of staph infection is the boil, a pocket of pus that develops in a hair follicle or oil gland. The skin over the infected area usually becomes red and swollen. If a boil breaks open, it may drain pus, blood or an amber-colored liquid. Boils occur most often under the arms or around the groin or buttocks.
    Impetigo. This contagious, often painful rash can occur in all ages, but it's most common in young children and infants. The types of impetigo caused by staph bacteria usually feature large blisters that may ooze fluid and develop a honey-colored crust. These sores occur most commonly around the nose and mouth.
    Cellulitis. Cellulitis — an infection of the deeper layers of skin — causes skin redness and swelling on the surface of your skin. Sores (ulcers) or areas of oozing discharge may develop, too. Cellulitis occurs most often in the lower legs and feet of older persons.
    Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome. Toxins produced as a result of a staph infection may lead to staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome. Affecting mostly newborns, this condition features fever, a rash and sometimes blisters. When the blisters break, the top layer of skin comes off — leaving a red, raw surface that looks like a burn.

Bacteremia
Also known as blood poisoning, bacteremia occurs when staph bacteria enter a person's bloodstream. A persistent fever is one sign of bacteremia. The bacteria can travel to locations deep within your body, to produce infections affecting:

    Internal organs, such as your brain, heart or lungs
    Bones and muscles
    Surgically implanted devices, such as artificial joints or cardiac pacemakers

Toxic shock syndrome
This life-threatening condition results from toxins produced by some strains of staph bacteria and has been linked to the use of certain types of tampons, skin wounds and surgery. It usually develops suddenly, with:

    High fever
    Nausea and vomiting
    A rash on your palms and soles that resembles sunburn
    Confusion
    Muscle aches
    Seizures
    Headache

Septic arthritis
Septic arthritis is often caused by a staph infection. The bacteria usually target the knees, but other joints can be affected, including your ankle, hip, wrist, elbow or shoulder. Signs and symptoms may include:

    Joint swelling
    Severe pain in the affected joint
    Fever
    Shaking or chills

When to see a doctor
Go to the doctor if you or your child has:

    An area of red, irritated or painful skin
    Pus-filled blisters
    Fever

You may also want to consult your doctor if:

    Skin infections are being passed from one family member to another
    Two or more family members have skin infections at the same time


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Lorenzo

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Re: What is Staph Infection?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2012, 01:33:43 PM »
Many people carry staph bacteria and never develop staph infections. If you have a staph infection, there's a good chance that it stemmed from bacteria you've been carrying around for some time.

These bacteria can also be transmitted from person to person. Because staph bacteria are so hardy, they can live on inanimate objects such as pillowcases or towels long enough to transfer to the next person who touches them.

Staph bacteria are able to survive:

    Drying
    Extremes of temperature
    High levels of salt


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Lorenzo

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Re: What is Staph Infection?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2012, 01:33:57 PM »
To diagnose a staph infection, your doctor will:

    Perform a physical exam. During the exam, your doctor will closely examine any skin lesions you may have.
    Collect a sample for testing. Most often, doctors diagnose staph infections by checking a tissue sample or nasal secretions for signs of the bacteria.


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Lorenzo

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Re: What is Staph Infection?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2012, 01:34:12 PM »
Treatment of a staph infection may include:

    Antibiotics. Your doctor may perform tests to identify what type of staph bacteria is behind your infection, to help choose the antibiotic that will work best. Antibiotics sometimes prescribed to treat staph infections include cephalosporins, nafcillin or related antibiotics, sulfa drugs or intravenous vancomycin. Vancomycin increasingly is required to treat serious staph infections because so many strains of staph bacteria have become resistant to other traditional medicines. But vancomycin is effective for staph infections only when it's given intravenously.

    Wound drainage. If you have a skin infection, your doctor may make an incision into the sore to drain fluid that has collected there.
    Device removal. If your infection involves a device or prosthetic, prompt removal of the device is needed. For some devices, removal might require surgery.


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