How to prevent staph infection?

Staph Infections

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What Is a Staph Infection?

Staph is the shortened name for Staphylococcus (staf-uh-low-KAH-kus), a type of bacteria. These bacteria live harmlessly on many skin surfaces, especially around the nose, mouth, genitals, and anus. But if the skin is punctured or broken, staph bacteria can enter the wound and cause an infection.

Staphylococcus aureus cause most staph skin infections, and also can release toxins (poisons) that lead to illnesses like food poisoning or toxic shock syndrome.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of a Staph Skin Infection?

Staph skin infections show up in lots of different ways. Conditions often caused by S. aureus include:

  • Folliculitis (fuh-lih-kyoo-LY-tus): This is an infection of the hair follicles, the tiny pockets under the skin where hair shafts (strands) grow. In folliculitis, tiny white-headed pimples appear at the base of hair shafts, sometimes with a small red area around each pimple. This happens often where people shave or have irritated skin from rubbing against clothing.
  • A furuncle (fyoor-UNK-ul), commonly known as a boil: These swollen, red, painful lumps in the skin usually are due to an infected hair follicle. The lump fills with pus, growing larger and more painful until it ruptures and drains. Furuncles often begin as folliculitis and then worsen. They most often appear on the face, neck, buttocks, armpits, and inner thighs, where small hairs can get irritated. A cluster of several furuncles is called a carbuncle (KAR-bunk-ul). Someone with a carbuncle may feel ill and and have a fever.
  • Impetigo (im-puh-TYE-go): This superficial skin infection is most common in young children, usually on the face, hands, or feet. It begins as a small blister or pimple, and then develops a honey-colored crust.
  • Cellulitis (sell-yuh-LYE-tus): This begins as a small area of redness, pain, swelling, and warmth on the skin, usually on the legs. As this area spreads, a child may feel feverish and ill.
  • A stye: Kids with one of these have a red, warm, uncomfortable bump near the edge of the eyelid.
  • MRSA: This type of staph bacteria is resistant to the antibiotics used treat staph infections. MRSA infections can be harder to treat, but most heal with proper care. Most MRSA infections involve the skin.
  • Scalded skin syndrome: This most often affects newborns and kids under age 5. It starts with a small staph skin infection, but the staph bacteria make a toxin that affects skin all over the body. The child has a fever, rash, and sometimes blisters. As blisters burst and the rash passes, the top layer of skin sheds and the skin surface becomes red and raw, like a burn. This serious illness affects the body in the same way as serious burns. It needs to be treated in a hospital. After treatment, most kids make a full recovery.
  • Wound infections: These cause symptoms (redness, pain, swelling, and warmth) similar to those from cellulitis. A person might have fever and feel sick in general. Pus or a cloudy fluid can drain from the wound and a yellow crust can develop.

How Do Staph Infections Spread?

Staph bacteria can spread:

  • when someone touches a contaminated surface
  • from person to person, especially in group living situations (like college dorms). Usually this happens when people with skin infections share personal things like bed linens, towels, or clothing.
  • from one area of their body to another, via dirty hands or fingernails

Warm, humid environments can contribute to staph infections, so excessive sweating can increase someone’s chances of developing an infection. People with skin problems like burns or eczema may be more likely to get staph skin infections.

How Are Staph Infections Treated?

Most small staph skin infections can be treated at home:

  • Soak the affected area in warm water or apply warm, moist washcloths. Use a cloth or towel only once when you soak or clean an area of infected skin. Then, wash them in soap and hot water and dry them fully in a clothes dryer.
  • Put a heating pad or a hot water bottle to the skin for about 20 minutes, three or four times a day.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment, if recommended by your doctor.
  • Give pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease pain until the infection goes away. Follow the package directions on how much to give and how often.
  • Cover the skin with a clean dressing or bandage.

Treat a stye by using warm compresses over the eye (with the eye closed) three or four times a day. Always use a clean washcloth each time. Occasionally, a stye will need a topical antibiotic.

Teens who get a staph infection on skin areas that are normally shaved should stop shaving until the infection clears up. If they do have to shave the area, they should use a clean disposable razor or clean the electric razor after each use.

Your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic for a staph skin infection. Give it on schedule for as many days as directed. More serious staph infections might need to be treated in a hospital, and an abscess (or pocket of pus) that doesn’t respond to home care might need to be drained.

To help prevent a staph infection from spreading to other parts of the body:

  • Don’t directly touch the infected skin.
  • Keep the area covered whenever possible.
  • Use a towel only once when you clean or dry the area. After using, wash the towel in hot water. Or use disposable towels.

How Long Does a Staph Infection Last?

How long it takes for a staph skin infection to heal depends on the type of infection and whether it’s treated. A boil, for example, may take 10 to 20 days to heal without treatment, but treatment may speed up the healing process. Most styes go away on their own within several days.

Can We Prevent Staph Skin Infections?

  • Washing hands well and often is key to preventing staph infections.
  • Encourage kids to keep their skin clean with a daily bath or shower. If a skin condition such as eczema makes regular bathing difficult, ask your doctor for advice.
  • Keep areas of injured skin — such as cuts, scrapes, and rashes caused by allergic reactions or poison ivy — clean and covered, and follow any directions given by your doctor.
  • If someone in your family has a staph infection, don’t share towels, sheets, or clothing until the infection has been fully treated.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Call your doctor if:

  • Skin infections seem to be passing from one family member to another, or if two or more family members have skin infections at the same time.
  • You think your child has a serious wound that might be infected.
  • A stye doesn’t go away in a few days.
  • A minor infection gets worse — for example, your child starts feeling feverish or ill, or the area spreads and gets very red and hot.

Reviewed by: Cynthia C. Roque, MD Date reviewed: July 2019

CDC: Step Up Prevention of Deadly Staph Infections

Hospital-onset MSSA, on the other hand, did not significantly change during the period studied, said the MMWR, and the rate of community-onset MSSA infections increased only slightly — at just 3.9 percent per year from 2012 to 2017.

Although MRSA is often better known, the CDC said its report underscores the fact that all staph infections can be deadly and that health care professionals and administrators should take preventive steps to protect their patients.

Additional Findings

The relative stagnation in the incidence of community-associated staph infections could be tied to the ongoing opioid epidemic, the CDC suggested.

“Emerging evidence suggests a 16-fold risk for invasive MRSA infection among persons who inject drugs; 9.2 percent of invasive MRSA cases in 2016 occurred in persons who inject drugs,” the MMWR said, up from 4 percent in 2011. Based on those figures, the report noted, health care professionals should consider injection drug use as a cause in patients who present with recurring staph infections.

Physicians can help decrease staph infections in patients who inject drugs by linking them to drug-addiction treatment services and providing information on safe injection practices, wound care and how to recognize early signs of infection, the agency said in a related press release.(www.cdc.gov)

“Staph infections are a serious threat and can be deadly,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D., in the release. “U.S. hospitals have made significant progress, but this report tells us that all staph infections must remain a prevention priority for health care providers.”

Protecting Patients from Staph

The risk for serious staph infection is greatest for inpatients in health care facilities or surgery centers, patients who have medical devices placed in their body, those who inject drugs, and those who come into close contact with someone who has a staph infection, the CDC said.

“To reduce the spread of staph in the community, everyone should keep their hands clean, cover wounds and avoid sharing items that contact skin, like towels, razors and needles,” said the release.

Additionally, the agency said health care professionals and facility administrators can protect patients by implementing CDC infection control recommendations, including the use of contact precautions(www.cdc.gov) such as donning gloves and gowns, continually reviewing their facility infection data available from the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network, and considering other interventions if they are not meeting infection reduction goals.

Based on the type of facility, another layer of preventive measures may include screening patients at high risk for infection or decolonization (special bathing or medication that reduces bacteria and other pathogens people may carry and spread) during high-risk periods or for certain types of procedures, the agency said.

For example, in another MMWR(www.cdc.gov) released in unison with the Vital Signs report, researchers found that U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers reduced staph infections by 43 percent between 2005 and 2017 by implementing a multifaceted MRSA prevention program. The program included MRSA screening, use of contact precautions and an increased emphasis on hand hygiene and other infection prevention strategies.

The CDC news release also pointed to the agency’s Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative,(www.cdc.gov) which supports academic investigators who are pursuing new ways to protect patients specifically from staph infections. These researchers are studying innovative infection prevention strategies to stop the spread of many other pathogens found in health care facilities, as well.

Finally, the agency said it expects to release additional data on the burden MRSA imposes in its second Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States report, which is scheduled to publish at the end of the year.

Related AAFP News Coverage
FDA Finalizes Ban on Triclosan, Other OTC Antiseptics
(12/22/2017)

CDC: Coordinated Approach Needed to Stop Explosion of Drug Resistance
Health Care Facilities, Health Departments Must Collaborate to Reduce Infections, Agency Says
(8/14/2015)

More From AAFP
American Family Physician: Practice Guidelines: IDSA Guidelines on the Treatment of MRSA Infections in Adults and Children
(8/15/2011)

Familydoctor.org: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)(familydoctor.org)

Health Information

Topic Overview

Staphylococcus aureus (staph) is a type of bacteria that can cause infections. Staph bacteria normally live on the skin. They don’t usually cause problems. They only become a problem when they cause infection. In most cases, you can treat this infection with antibiotics.

For some people, especially those who are weak or ill, staph infections can become serious. Sometimes staph bacteria can cause a widespread infection in the body.

How is staph spread?

Staph bacteria can be spread by touching a person or object. It is often spread from the hands of someone who has a staph infection.

In the hospital, staph infections are more likely to occur in wounds, burns, or places where there is a break in the skin or where tubes enter the body. In the community, staph infections are more likely to occur among people who have cuts or wounds and who have close contact with one another.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of a staph infection depend on where the infection is. If the infection is:

  • In a wound, that area of your skin may be red or tender.
  • On your skin, you may get a red, tender boil or abscess.
  • In your blood or more widespread, you may have a fever and feel very ill.

How is a staph infection diagnosed?

Staph infection is diagnosed based on a medical history and a physical exam. Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and your work and home environments.

The doctor will take a sample of your infected wound or a sample of blood, urine, or mucus (sputum) coughed up from the lungs. The sample is tested for staph bacteria. This test may take several days.

In some cases, imaging is done to look for signs of infection. For example, a chest X-ray can show a lung infection.

How is it treated?

If you have a staph infection, your doctor may:

  • Drain your wound.
  • Give you antibiotics as pills or through a needle put in your vein (IV).

You may have to stay in the hospital for treatment. In the hospital, you may be kept apart from others. This is to reduce the chances of spreading the bacteria.

How can you prevent a staph infection?

  • Practice good hygiene.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and clean, running water. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Hand-washing is the best way to avoid spreading the bacteria.
    • Keep cuts and scrapes clean. Cover them with a bandage. Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.
    • Don’t share personal items such as towels, washcloths, razors, or clothing.
    • Keep your environment clean by using a disinfectant to wipe surfaces you touch a lot. These include countertops, doorknobs, and light switches.
  • If you’re in the hospital, remind doctors and nurses to wash their hands before and after they touch you.

8 Simple Steps to Avoid a Bad MRSA Infection

What is MRSA? Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, otherwise known as “staph”. Coined by the media as a “super bug”, MRSA is resistant to most antibiotics used to treat infections. With limited treatment options available (i.e., vancomycin) preventing the development of MRSA is the best way to treat infection.

Typically appearing as a small bump, similar to a pimple or spider bite, a MRSA infection will increase in redness over time and may develop pus drainage and/or be accompanied by fever. If not cared for immediately and properly, this infection can quickly develop into a life-threatening condition.

How does someone acquire MRSA?

Found in one-third of the population on their skin or in nasal passages, staph bacteria become harmful when they enter the body through a cut or open wound. Staph is spread by close or direct skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin from a cut or abrasion, contaminated surfaces, poor hygiene or crowded conditions. High-risk individuals include team athletes and military recruits.

How is MRSA prevented?

The biggest way to prevent the spread of infection is by washing your hands. Here are the proper techniques for handwashing as written by the CDC:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), and apply soap.

  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a time? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not available, it is appropriate to use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Here is the proper way to use hand sanitizers, according to the CDC:

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).

  • Rub your hands together.

  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

Other ways to prevent the spread of infections are:

  • Showering immediately after an athletic event.

  • Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, razors, clothing, and athletic equipment.

  • Keeping wounds clean and covered until they heal.

  • Cleaning athletic equipment and workout clothes.

  • Washing athletic clothes after each use.

  • Cleaning linens using the “hot” water setting, use bleach if appropriate, and dry on the hot setting in the dryer.

  • Non-washable gear should be wiped down with alcohol or an antibacterial wipe after each use.

  • Athletic equipment, such as mats, benches, or weight grips should be disinfected after each use with an antibacterial solution.

How is MRSA treated?

Most MRSA infections are treatable with antibiotics. However, if signs and symptoms are ignored, the infection can become serious, even fatal. If you’re on medication, yet the infection continues to worsen or looks the same after 3-4 days and/or a fever develops or worsens, seek medical attention immediately. If you’re taking antibiotics, follow your medical provider’s instructions precisely, even if you’re feeling better. Proper prevention and care of an infection or injury the first time decreases the likelihood of it reoccurring. When it comes to infection; When in Doubt, Get it Checked Out.

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MRSA and the Workplace


Source: CDC MRSA photos

Overview

Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to simply as “staph,” is a type of bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Sometimes, staph can cause an infection. Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States. Most of these skin infections are minor (such as pustules and boils) and can be treated without antibiotics. However, staph bacteria also can cause serious infections (such as skin and soft tissue wound infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia).

Methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus (MRSA) refers to types of staph that are resistant to a type of antibiotic methicillin. MRSA is often resistant to other antibiotics, as well. While 33% of the population is colonized with staph (meaning that bacteria are present, but not causing an infection with staph), approximately 1% is colonized with MRSA.

Workers who are in frequent contact with MRSA and staph-infected people and animals are at risk of infection. These included those in hospitals and healthcare facilities, correctional facilities, daycare facilities, livestock settings, and veterinary clinics.

FAQs for the Workplace

NOTE: This information is provided for general workplaces, not healthcare facilities. Healthcare workers should refer to information found at the following links: /mrsa/index.html and /mrsa/healthcare/index.html .

Can I get MRSA from my work?

MRSA is transmitted most frequently by direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with shared items or surfaces (e.g., towels, used bandages) that have come into contact with someone else’s infected site. Animals with MRSA can also transfer the infection to people who frequently handle them. However, people are usually the originating source of the infection in animals.

MRSA skin infections can occur in any type of workplace. However, some workplace settings have factors that make it easier for MRSA to be transmitted. These factors, referred to as the 5 C’s, are as follows: Crowding, frequent skin-to-skin Contact, Compromised skin (i.e., cuts or abrasions), Contaminated items and surfaces, and lack of Cleanliness. Locations where the 5 C’s are common include schools, dormitories, military barracks, athletic gyms, households, correctional facilities, daycare centers, and areas where animal handling is common, such as veterinary clinics and livestock settings.

If I have MRSA, can I go to work?

Unless directed by a healthcare provider, workers with MRSA infections should not be routinely excluded from going to work.

Exclusion from work should be reserved for those with wound drainage (“pus”) that cannot be properly covered and contained with a clean, dry bandage and for those who cannot maintain good hygiene practices.

Workers with active infections should be excluded from activities where skin-to-skin contact with the affected skin area is likely to occur until their infections are healed.

What should I do if I think I have a staph or MRSA infection?

See your healthcare provider and follow your healthcare provider’s advice about returning to work.

If I have staph, or a MRSA skin infection, what can I do to prevent the spread of MRSA at work and at home?

You can prevent spreading staph or MRSA skin infections to others by following these steps:

  • Cover your wound.Keep areas of the skin affected by MRSA covered. Keep wounds that are draining or have pus covered with clean, dry bandages. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on proper care of the wound. Pus from infected wounds can contain staph and MRSA, so keeping the infection covered will help prevent the spread to others. Bandages or tape can be discarded with the regular trash.
  • Clean your hands.You, your family, and others in close contact should wash their hands frequently with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after changing the bandage or touching the infected wound.
  • Do not share personal items.Avoid sharing personal items such as uniforms, personal protective equipment, clothing, towels, washcloths or razors that may have had contact with the infected wound or bandage.
  • Talk to your doctor.Tell any healthcare providers who treat you that you have or had a staph or MRSA skin infection.

What should I do if I suspect that my uniform, clothing, personal protective equipment or workstation has become contaminated with MRSA?

Wash uniforms, clothing, sheets and towels that become soiled with water and laundry detergent. Drying clothes in a hot dryer, rather than air-drying, also helps kill bacteria in clothes. Use a dryer to dry clothes completely. Wash clothing according to manufacturer’s instructions on the label.

Cleaning contaminated equipment and surfaces with detergent-based cleaners or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectants is effective at removing MRSA from the environment. Check the disinfectant product’s label on the back of the container. Most, if not all, disinfectant manufacturers will provide a list of microorganisms on their label that their product can destroy. Because cleaners and disinfectants can be irritating and exposure has been associated with health problems such as asthma, it is important to read the instruction labels on all cleaners to make sure they are used safely and appropriately. Where disinfection is concerned, more is not necessarily better. EPA has guidance for employers for less hazardous antimicrobial productsExternal

Additional informationCdc-pdfExternal is available on effective infection-control practices while minimizing the use of, and exposure to, toxic products in schools written by the National Cleaning for Healthier Schools and Infection Control Workgroup.

Environmental cleaners and disinfectants should not be used to treat infections. The EPA provides a list of EPA-registered products effective against MRSA:

What can my boss (employers) do to prevent the spread of staph or MRSA at the workplace?

  • Place importance on worker safety and health protection in the workplace
  • Ensure the availability of adequate facilities and supplies that encourage workers to practice good hygiene
  • Ensure that routine housekeeping in the workplace is followed
  • Ensure that contaminated equipment and surfaces are cleaned with detergent-based cleaners or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectants
  • Encourage workers to seek early treatment of possible infections from their healthcare provider

Other FAQs About MRSA

What does a staph or MRSA infection look like?

Staph bacteria, including MRSA, can cause skin infections that may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. More serious infections may cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or skin and soft tissue wound infections.


Source: CDC MRSA photos

Prevention

How can I prevent staph or MRSA skin infections?

Practice good hygiene:

  • Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
  • Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as uniforms and personal protective equipment.
  • Avoid use of whirlpools and swimming pools if you have MRSA

Treatment

Are staph and MRSA infections treatable?

Yes. Many staph skin infections may be treated by draining the abscess or boil and may not require antibiotics. Drainage of skin boils or abscesses should only be done by a healthcare provider. Do not try to drain the infection yourself.

However, some staph and MRSA infections are treated with antibiotics. If you are given an antibiotic, take all of the doses, even if the infection is getting better, unless your doctor tells you to stop taking it. Do not share antibiotics with other people or save unfinished antibiotics to use at another time.

If after visiting your healthcare provider the infection is not getting better after 48 hours, contact them again. If other people you know or live with get the same infection tell them to go to their healthcare provider. MRSA skin infections can develop into more serious infections.

Preventing the Spread of MRSA in Correctional Facilities

NIOSH has created 14 easy-to-read publications on how to stop the spread of MRSA in correctional facilities. The title of each publication indicates the target audience. Conditions at correctional facilities can be conducive to the spread of MRSA, and several outbreaks have been reported. The materials cover a number of topics, including basic facts about MRSA, what to do if you have a skin infection, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, environmental sanitation, laundry, and not sharing personal items.

Washing Your Hands Stops MRSA (Correctional Staff)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-114 (January 2013)

Use Hand Sanitizer, Bottle (Correctional Staff)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-115 (January 2013

Use Hand Sanitizer, Wall-Mounted Dispenser (Correctional Staff)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-116 (January 2013)

What is MRSA? (Correctional Officers)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-117 (January 2013)

What is MRSA? (Inmates)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-118 (January 2013)
En Español /spanish/niosh/docs/2013-118_sp/

What is MRSA? (Correctional Staff)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-119 (January 2013)

Managers: Protect Correctional Staff from MRSA
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-120 (January 2013)

Managers’ Checklist for Protecting Correctional Staff from MRSA
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-121 (January 2013)

Use Personal Protective Equipment (Correctional Staff)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-123 (January 2013)

MRSA Can Live on High-Touch Surfaces (Correctional Facilities)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-124 (January 2013)

Sharing Personal Items Can Spread MRSA (Correctional Staff)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-125 (January 2013)

If You Have a MRSA Infection (Correctional Staff)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-126 (January 2013)

Additional Resources

MRSA and the Workplace
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-112 (January 2013)
This two-page factsheet summarizes information about MRSA and the workplace.

CDC MRSA Website

Environmental Cleaning and Disinfecting for MRSA

OSHA Hospital eTool: MRSAExternal

Veterinary Health Care and the Workplace

NIH Research on MRSAExternal

Handwashing Posters from Washington Department of HealthExternal

PubMed search for Community-Associated MRSA InfectionsExternal

What is S. aureus and how does it spread?

Staphylococcus aureus or “staph” is a type of bacteria found on human skin, in the nose, armpit, groin, and other areas. While these germs don’t always cause harm, they can make you sick under the right circumstances. S. aureus is the leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections, such as abscesses, boils, furuncles, and cellulitis (red, swollen, painful, warm skin). S. aureus germs can also cause more serious infections, such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and heart valves), and bone and joint infections.

S. aureus is spread by touching infected blood or body fluids, most often by contaminated hands.

Who gets S. aureus infections?

Anyone can develop a S. aureus infection, although certain groups of people are more likely than others. This includes people with conditions such as: diabetes, cancer, vascular disease, eczema, lung disease, and people who inject drugs. Patients who are hospitalized in intensive care units (ICUs), patients who have undergone certain types of surgeries, and patients with medical devices inserted in their bodies, such as central lines and catheters, are at greater risk of a more serious S. aureus infection. People who often visit healthcare facilities and nursing home residents are also at an increased risk.

What are the symptoms of S. aureus infections?

S. aureus infections typically appear on the skin as a pocket of pus surrounded by red, painful skin, or cellulitis.

How is S. aureus treated?

Treatment depends on the type of infection caused by the bacteria. When antibiotics are prescribed, they are selected based on laboratory testing of the bacteria and may involve more than one type.

Staph bacteria are very adaptable, and many varieties have become resistant to one or more antibiotics. The rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of staph bacteria—often described as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strains—has led to the use of IV antibiotics, with the potential for more side effects.

How can you prevent S. aureus Infections?

To prevent staph infections, practice proper hand hygiene, keep infected areas covered and clean, and avoid sharing personal items like razors, towels, and needles.

Additional resources

  • APIC—Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • CDC—Vital signs-Staph infections can kill
  • CDC—Staphylococcus aureus in healthcare settings
  • Minnesota Department of Health—About Staphylococcus aureus

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