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MAIN Arrow to HealthHealth Arrow to DiseaseDiseases Arrow to StaphStaph Infections

before and after photos of a staff infection as it worsens
Staff infections start out as small red
bumps, but may quickly turn into
abscesses that are sore to the touch.

Staphylococcus bacteria can be found just about everywhere. S. aureus is one of the bacteria that is commonly found on human skin.

Normally, the staph around us does not harm us. Our immune systems are aware of the germ and keep it under control. If a cut or other break in the skin lets some staph bacteria through, we might see a boil that needs to be treated.

Following treatment, keeping the area clean and dry should be all that is necessary.

However, the toxins from the S. aureus bacteria can cause serious, even fatal, illness in people who have compromised immune systems. Infants and those with autoimmune diseases are the most vulnerable, but anyone recovering from illness or surgery can be at risk for complications, These may include urinary tract infections, surgical wound infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia.

Symptoms of serious infection usually include a boil or pimple that is resistant to treatment. As the condition worsens, more serious symptoms such as shortness of breath, high fever, chills, and cough may appear as the bacteria travels through the bloodstream.

Fighting the "super bug" - MRSA

before and after photos of a staff infection as it worsens
Regular hand washing can
help greatly reduce risk
of staff infection.


For years, doctors in hospitals have treated more serious staph infections with a range of antibiotics. Like most living organisms, however, staph adapts to the environment and develops immunity to help it survive. One strain of this germ that has become immune to the effects of the most prescribed antibiotics has been making headlines recently, and that is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA or "the superbug".

The strains of staff bacteria that have alarmed doctors and health officials is broken down into two distinct groups: community acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) and hospital acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (H-MRSA).

Recent outbreaks of illness caused by this bacteria have resulted in serious illness and many areas have closed schools and restricted group activities following reports of students having MRSA.

While it is important to receive early treatment for MRSA infections, they are usually easily controlled by a course of oral antibiotics. For very serious staff infections, intravenous vancomycin is required when staph bacteria have become resistant to other traditional antibiotics.

To reduce risk of catching or spreading the bacteria, common sense hygiene techniques are often recommended, such as:

  • Washing hands frequently

  • Prompt cleaning and bandaging all cuts and scrapes

  • Avoiding the sharing of clothing, towels or other items, like razors or tweezers, that may have come in contact with staph on the skin

More about staph infections around the Web:

On the Web, find out more about staph infections at top sites offering expert advice on risk factors, tips and advice on prevention, along with more details on treatment options, the latest research updates and online patient support ...

Community-Associated MRSA Information for the Public - The US Centers for Disease Control puts the information together in an easy question and answer format so you can find out more about staph infections and the "superbug" MRSA.

This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.


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