A staph infection is a skin infection that can lead to other health problems or diseases. Cellulitis is the general term used to describe a staph infection of the deeper layers of the skin. Toxic shock syndrome is one example of a health problem indirectly caused by the staph bacteria. Staph is the common short form term for Staphylococcus, which is a class of bacteria that leads to this skin problem. There are many different strains that can affect humans. However, it is the staphylococcus aureus strain that causes most of the infections in humans.
The staphylococcus bacteria are not all that foreign to the human body. In fact, in approximately one quarter of normal healthy individuals, these bacteria can be found residing on the skin’s surface and areas such as the nose, mouth, feet, genital area, and anal region. Fortunately, the staph bacteria normally do not cause an infection and simply reside on or around the above-mentioned areas without any health problems developing. In certain situations, such as damage to the skin via cuts or scrapes – even small ones, the bacteria invade the wound. If the body’s usual infection fighting defense mechanisms are not able to deal effectively with staph bacteria, then an infection develops. More information on the staph causes can be found at the causes page.
A staphylococcus infection can vary in severity. The infection may be mild and simply be a minor irritation and naturally heal on its own without any treatment or it can develop into a more dangerous health problem and can even be fatal. An example of a more severe condition is MRSA infection or methicllin resistant staphylococcus aureus infection, which is an infection that is resistant to many antibiotics. Another example of a very serious or fatal health problem is flesh-eating disease.
There are characteristic signs of an infection caused by the staph bacteria and these are discussed at the symptoms page. A look at these symptoms is the first step in diagnosing this skin care problem. However, if there is concern that the infection is progressing then a proper staph infection diagnosis should be performed by a physician in order to prevent complications or a more serious infection.
Treatments are available for staphylococcus infections. These treatments vary depending on the type of infection and the severity. The best treatment is prevention. Practicing proper prevention techniques will reduce the risk of an infection caused by staph from developing and potentially eliminate the risk of serious complications.
When this type of infection is suspected, diligence is important. Do not hesitate to seek out a physician!