According to the National Library of Medicine, "Anyone can get a staph skin infection." These infections, while often painful and uncomfortable, are contracted in many ways and can be easily treated, in most cases. Though they can be prevented, it is important to know the common staph skin infection symptoms.
Causes of Staph Skin Infection
All types of staph infections are caused by a bacteria called staphylococcus. Most skin related staph infections are caused by the specific bacteria known as staphylococcus aureus, which also causes pneumonia, food poisoning, and toxic shock syndrome. MRSA, a type of severe staph infection, is caused by the same bacteria but is harder to treat.
People who already have cuts and scrapes are more likely to be infected by the bacteria through these areas, but anyone who has "contact with a person or surface that has staph bacteria" can become infected in that area of their skin. In addition, the Mayo Clinic states, "Staph bacteria are able to survive" in extremely dry areas, hot or cold temperatures, or high levels of salt, unlike other bacteria. This is part of what makes these conditions so common and resistant.
Symptoms of Staph Skin Infections
There are a number of symptoms that will allow you to recognize the presence of a staph infection on your skin. Some individuals notice boils or pimples filled with pus that usually develop around an oil gland or hair in the groin, buttocks, or leg area. This is a common MRSA skin infection symptom, which often leads to a deep abscess of the skin. Others may experience impetigo, a painful rash that is characterized by fluid-filled blisters which eventually become crusted.
Cellulitis is also a possible symptom. This creates redness and swelling—usually on the feet and legs—that is caused by an infection deep under the skin. Another symptom, staphylococcal scaled skin, occurs when a person develops blisters that burst and leave behind raw, burned-looking skin.
Skin staph infections may cause many different symptoms that generally appear on the skin itself. As stated by the National Library of Medicine, though, "The only way to know for sure if you have a staph infection is by seeing a health care provider" where tests can be taken to ensure the presence of a particular condition.
Preventing Staph Infections of the Skin
Staph infections are contagious, but they can be prevented in many ways, especially those infections which affect the skin. Some of the best ways to prevent these conditions are listed below.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Shower often, especially after a workout or when you have been sweating.
- Care for any sores or cuts immediately and treat them with antibiotics. Wash the area first and keep it dry and covered with an adhesive strip or bandage.
- Avoid sharing personal or intimate items such as towels, makeup, brushes, etc.
- Wipe down any equipment at the gym before and after you use it.
- Know the possible risks of contracting a staph infection if you:
- Have a weakened immune system
- Have just left the hospital
- Have a medical device inside your body
- Wear shoes in a locker room and in public showers.
- Be aware of the health of your skin and have any boils, swelling, or signs of inflammation checked by a doctor.
When attempting to prevent a staph skin infection, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and to keep your skin clean and dry. If you make sure to follow these rules, it is much easier to avoid the possibility of experiencing a severe staph infection.
Concerned You May Have a Staph Infection?
Look for the common symptoms associated with these conditions and consult your doctor today. Staph infections can be easily treated for the most part, but awareness is necessary for you to successfully prevent contracting one.