Staph Infection of the Skin


Staph Infection of the Skin

Certain types of bacteria (called staphylococcus) can often live harmlessly in or on an individual for a long time. When that bacteria is transmitted to another person, however, it can cause an infection, which often occurs on or just below the surface of the skin. Although it is easily treatable, there are also many ways to prevent staph infection of the skin from occurring altogether.

Definition of Staph Infection of Skin

According to the Australian HealthDirect website, "Skin staphylococcus... infections are a range of staph infections specifically affecting the skin." They are mostly caused by the bacteria staphylococcus aureus, although there are more than 30 types of staph bacteria. As stated by the National Library of Medicine, "Skin infections are the most common" type of staphylococcus infection.

Signs of Staph Infection on the Skin

Different types of staph infections cause different signs and symptoms. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, two of the most common signs of a staph infection on skin include:
•    Abscesses
o    Pus-filled pockets that swell
o    Often red and painful
o    May burst and ooze pus
•    Cellulitis
o    Bacteria present in the underlying layers of skin
o    Often on the legs or arms
o    Causes swelling, redness, and pain
Boils, which are similar to abscesses but generally smaller, can also be a sign of this condition. Another common sign is a rash or impetigo, which is usually red, scaly, and contagious. Impetigo can also ooze fluid and cause a yellowish crust to form over the rash. If you notice any of these signs on a particular part of your body, it is likely that you are suffering from staph skin infection.

Transmission of Staph Infection of the Skin

It is quite easy to transmit a staph infection to another person, especially when it is skin-related. Sports like soccer, football, martial arts, and boxing are a large cause of this type of issue because individuals are sweating and coming into contact with others often. A person who is a carrier of the bacteria could spread it to another individual, causing an infection. This often happens as well when someone with the bacteria does not clean gym equipment and then another individual uses it right afterward.
Personal items like brushes, combs, and razors are often carriers of the bacteria, causing it to be transmitted from one person to another when these items are shared. The bacteria can also be transmitted through a sore or cut that already exists on an individual. The best way to protect yourself from having it transmitted to you is to be cautious.

Preventing a Staph Skin Infection

There are numerous ways to avoid this issue from occurring, even if you do play many sports or visit the gym frequently.
•    Make sure to wipe down the equipment you use at the gym before and after use.
•    Wash your workout and sports clothes regularly.
•    Shower and wash your hands regularly.
•    Keep any open sores or cuts clean and covered.
•    Do not share personal items with another individual, especially if you do not know him or her well.
•    Take extra precautions if you:
o    Have recently left the hospital.
o    Have a weakened immune system.
o    Have a medical device or tube in your body.

Recognizing Skin Staph Infections

Preventing these conditions can be done, but it is important to be able to recognize when you have contracted a staph infection of the skin. They are typically easy to treat, but you should consult a doctor if you believe you have contracted one of these conditions.