Staph gets its name from the bacteria known as Staphylococcus. It is a rather resilient variety of bacteria that thrives on the skin and muscles of the human body. One of the biggest issues with this bacteria is that the primary means of treating staph, antibiotics, has become harder to apply. Staph has been around for multiple centuries, developing a resistance to antibiotics that only grows with each subsequent generation. Decades ago, many common antibiotics would have done the job but these are rarely an option anymore because strains are usually resilient to the old standbys.
The rest of this article will highlight what causes this sort of infection in the first place, inform you of what to look for in order to tell whether or not you have been infected with staph and also provide a bit more detail on what sort of options are available to treat a person plagued with staph.
Causes of Staph Infections
Roughly a quarter of the populace has staph in some part, usually around the nose, mouth, genitals or anus yet exhibits no symptoms. Feet are also quite susceptible breeding grounds for staph from simply walking barefoot. Staph can easily spread to others if they make direct contact with an infected person or indirect contact by touching items handled by that person that also made contact with a staph wound that is releasing fluids.
It only takes one little cut for staph to flare up. Staph infections can vary in severity from a simple boil all the way to a flesh-eating priority that may shrug off most antibiotics. Several factors influence a staph infection's severity.
- Strength of the infection.
- Depth of the infection.
- Rapidity of the infection's spread.
- Reaction to antibiotics.
Antibiotic-resistant strains are common in North America due to frequency of antibiotic usage. One variety, cellulitis, can get deep into the skin but is thankfully still quite susceptible to antibiotics. Diabetics and the immunocompromised are at a higher risk of this infection.
Signs and Symptoms
Staph cellulitis starts out as a little region of the body that can feel tender, swollen or is several shades more red than the rest of the skin. Other times, you can notice it as an open sore that will eventually crust over with a golden-yellow nastiness. There are even instances where there is no sign that an infection occurred; no obvious sign of broken skin for the bacteria to infiltrate beneath the epidermis. Cellulitis has all of the same localized cues as any other inflammation:
- Variable levels of pain.
If you have any sort of break in the skin, like an ulcer or sore, it could be a sign that your body harbors staph. If the infection spreads for enough time, the person may contract a fever, chills or sweats. Other variations on staph infections include impetigo, a painful and contagious rash and "staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome," which strikes at infants and young children and leaves their bodies covered with rashes, blisters, and also feverish.
Antibiotics are the primary means by which staph infections are dealt with, provided the patient is not suffering with an antibiotic-resistant strain of staph.The arms race between bacteria and antibiotics have left humans resorting to more potent antibiotics than used in the past.
Roughly half of the time, resistance leads to tougher antibiotics. Instead of being isolated to hospitals, the issue of resistance is now common to society. This becomes a problem because doctors have to show more caution in which variety of antibiotic they give their patients. The doctor wants to cure the patient without increasing the resistance to antibiotics of future bacterial generations.
A second means of handling severe staph infections exists but involves more than just antibiotics. Should the infection penetrate the muscles or the fibers surrounding them, surgical cleaning becomes an option. This particular form of treatment involves using a scalpel to make an incision and then saturating the infected regions with suitable antibiotics. Surgery has to be resorted to because this sort of situation needs to be handled rather urgently and cannot wait for ingested varieties to take full effect.