What Is a Staph Infection?

Staph is short for Staphylococcus, a type of bacteria. Staph can live harmlessly on many skin surfaces, especially around your nose, mouth, genitals, or anus. However, once that skin is broken, staph enters the wound and causes an infection.

Staph can enter the skin from a contaminated object, or by skin to skin contact between people. Certain types of staff are also more common if you have an immune system disease like HIV or AIDS.

Most of the time, staph infections are merely uncomfortable and annoying, and a round of antibiotics, natural remedies and/or lifestyle changes will eliminate the problem. Rarely, however, infections can become serious and even deadly when the bacteria moves into the bloodstream. This can lead to infections in areas like the bones, lungs, heart, blood and central nervous system.

You may have heard about methicillin-resistant staph, which has built up such an immunity to antibiotics that it doesn’t respond to treatment. It can be very hard to treat, and often requires a mix of remedies to get rid of MRSA.

Types of Staph Infections

* Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles where hair shafts grow. White, pus filled pimples grow around hair shafts, and it is usually caused by shaving or clothing irritations.
* A furuncle or boil, is a red, painful lump in the skin. It is also usually caused by an infected hair follicle, but keeps growing and filling with pus. A cluster of several furuncles is called a carbuncle.
* Impetigo is a skin infection that usually affects the face or extremities like the hands and feet. It starts as a small blister or pimple, then turning crusty.
* Cellulitis begins as a small area of redness and pain, and the skin becomes warm. It can make you feel feverish and sick, and is most common on the legs.
* A hordeolum or stye is a staph infection in the eyelid. A person with a stye will have a red, warm swelling near the eyelid.

Prevent Staph

You can help prevent a staph infection by frequently washing your hands, and bathing or showering daily. If you do get a cut or injury, clean and cover it, and avoid touching any items that someone with a staph infection has touched.

Staph Infection Treatments

Usually, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics like tetracycline or penicillin to treat a staph infection. It may take more than one round to clear.

Some patients have had great success with homeopathic and natural remedies, so this is something to consider if you develop a persistent case of staph.

You can relieve pain by applying warm compresses or hot water bottles to the infected area and taking over the counter pain relievers. Always use an antibacterial cleanser on the area, and keep applying an antibiotic ointment.