What is a Staph Infection?

Understand staph infectionsStaph is the abbreviated term for the staphylococcus bacteria that consists of thirty variations. Many people do not know what is a staph infection. Staph lives in an individual’s nose and mouth as well as other parts of the body and it quite harmless most of the time. However, if there is a break in the skin or a small cut, the invading microorganisms can enter and infiltrate the area creating an infection.

The infections may vary depending on the location on the body. A staph infection can result in boils, carbuncles, and impetigo as well as sties on the eyes. If left untreated the bacteria can spread throughout the body by the bloodstream causing infections in the respiratory tract or nervous system. In some instances, staph has been fatal. Individuals, who have a compromised immune system because of cancer, diabetes, HIV, or any other serious condition, are susceptible to staph.

Symptoms of Staph Infections:

The symptoms of staph infection vary depending on the where the infection is located on the body and the severity of the infection. Although all the infections have their own characteristics, generally staph results a type of skin infection. The skin will swell and soreness and redness of the infected area will develop. Usually staph starts out as a pus filled bump. The pus is local to a specific area. These pus filled areas should be treated immediately to insure that the bacterium does not enter the blood stream.

If the blood is infected, the bacteria can travel to any part of the body. It can lodge in the arms, legs, or vertebrae. If it travels to the lungs, the patient will develop staphylococcal pneumonia. If it lodges in the heart, an abscess may form on one of the valves on the right side of the heart. Eating contaminated food that has the toxins from the bacteria will result in staphylococcal food poisoning. It is also possible to develop a kidney infection if the bacterium settles in the kidney tissue. These are very serious medical issues that require immediate attention if you even suspect a problem.

A staphylococcal infection that presents itself as a boil is usually relatively easy to treat by cleaning the area of the boil. In the event that the boil gets worse or if you have a fever, it is important to seek medical attention to correct the problem. Staph is resistant to many antibiotics; therefore, it is important to be under the care of a doctor until the infection has been eliminated.

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