Collection: Staph Infection

Staph Infection (staphylococcus aureus bacteria)

Staph (pronounced "staff") is the term commonly used for staphylococcus aureus bacteria. This bacterium is very common (many people have some living on their skin all the time), but when it enters the human body, usually through an open cut or break in the skin, it can cause infection and trouble anywhere in the body. Staph infections tend to be pus-producing.

Common minor (or relatively minor) skin infections caused by staph include:

Folliculitis: Infections of hair follicles that cause itchy white pus-filled bumps on the skin (often where people shave or have irritations from skin rubbing against clothes)
Boils: Infections deeper within hair follicles that leave large, frequently red inflammations (often occur on the face or neck)
Sties: Infection of the follicle surrounding the eyelashes, causing a sore red bump in the eyelid Impetigo: The infection kids often get around their mouths and noses that causes blisters and red scabby skin
Abscesses: Infection characterized by pus and swelling that can occur in the skin and in any other organ.

Staph infection is also the leading culprit behind cases of food poisoning, and can be to blame for larger life threatening conditions, such as Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), pneumonia, bone infections (osteomyelitis), mastitis in nursing mothers, endocarditis (infection of the inside of the heart), and bacteremia (blood infection).

People who are otherwise healthy typically do not usually become severely ill from staph infections, but those at special risk, who have weakened immune systems, include:

  • persons with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, lung disease, kidney disease, or HIV/AIDS
  • people with various skin conditions
  • the elderly
  • newborns
  • people recovering from major surgery
  • injection drug users (especially those who reuse needles)
  • people whose immune systems are weakened due to steroid use, radiation therapy, cancer treatment, immunosuppressive medications
  • women who are breastfeeding

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