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Staph Infections Defined

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Staph infections are those that result from staphylococcus, a group of bacteria that can cause a multitude of diseases because of various tissues in your body. These infections can range from mild skin irritations that require no treatment to severe infections that are potentially fatal. Research shows that more than 30 different types of staphylococci can infect humans. However, Staphylococcus aureus causes most infections. While 25 percent to 30 percent of healthy adults have staphylococci in their noses and on their skin, these bacteria do not cause disease in most cases. However, damage to your skin or other injuries can allow the bacteria to overcome your body’s natural protective mechanisms, which can cause infection. To prevent yourself from being at risk of infection, it can help to know some symptoms of staph infections and when to seek medical attention.

People Most at Risk for Staph Infections

While anyone can develop staph infections, certain groups of people are at greater risk, including newborn infants, breastfeeding women, and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, vascular disease, and lung disease. In addition, injecting drug users, people with skin injuries or disorders, intravenous catheters, surgical incisions, and those with a weak immune system are at a higher risk of developing infections.

Symptoms of Staph Infections

One of the main symptoms of staph infections is a localized collection of pus, known as an abscess, boil, or furuncle. Drainage is also very common, as are swollen, red, and painful areas on your skin. A staph infection can also cause high fevers, chills, and low blood pressure when it is in your bloodstream.

Treatment Options for Staph Infections

Depending on the type of staph infection you have and how severely it affects you, your doctor may be able to treat the infection with antibiotic ointments or oral antibiotics. If you have an abscess, he or she may need to drain it surgically. If you are suffering from a life-threatening illness, you may receive intravenous antibiotics.

Staph infections can range from the most minor skin irritations to life-threatening infections that require surgery and intravenous antibiotic therapy. If you have any skin irritations or think you may be suffering from a staph infection, you should contact a medical professional immediately, as he or she can examine you and diagnose the issue accordingly.

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