Staphylococci or popularly known as staph infection is a group of bacteria causing a large number of diseases on the human body. The infection can trigger the risks of disorders while inducing toxins by bacteria. Few of the instances of the conditions that are the results of staphylococcus is impetigo, cellulites, boils, toxic shock syndrome and food poisoning.
What is Staph Infection?
Staph or staphylococci is a type of germ or bacteria that is commonly found on people’s skin affecting the areas of noses. Generally, there is no sign of severe skin condition due to this but the group of bacteria can spread over the body can cause infection. Blood infections to boils or pimples are the common signs of this disease.
Not through air but contamination occurs with the direct contact of a person. Now you can guess, why you are told repeatedly to wash hands. Moreover, the critical case of staphylococci can lead to your death.
For preventing the chances of infection, you should be the place where you got hurt and keep it under cover. The doctor might prescribe you antibiotics and you should not stop taking the medicine abruptly.
Causes of Staph Infection
The group of a germ can lead to infectious diseases observed in different tissues of the human body and the complication related to the infection can vary from person to person.
- Over thirty different variants of Staphylococcus are susceptible to infect human body and the usual ones are affected by Staphylococcus aureus.
- Usually, the infection does not cause much harm to people’s skin including armpit, buttock and nose.
- Sharing toothbrush, towels or droplets in sneezes and coughs can lead to staph bacteria.
- Close skin contact is one of the common causes
- Majority of the people do not face the consequences of diseases caused by the infection.
- Medical workers or hospital staff are the primary victims of the infection.
Staphylococcus refers to a Greek term, ‘staphyle’ which stands for a bundle of grapes and berry is the meaning ‘kokkos’. If you are confused about what grapes and berries have got to do with the infection, you might be interested in knowing that the infection looks like round berries.
The bacteria can last for a long period and stay on the inanimate objects like towels or pillowcases transferring to a person who touches it. Moreover, high levels of salt and extreme weather condition can trigger the generation of the bacteria. Stomach acid is often associated with the risks related to a staph infection.
Risk Factors Related to Stapolyccoci
Staph infection has a wide scale of risk factors that include the condition of the immune system or the kind of activities you perform. Various types of a health condition can worsen the chances of developing the infection. Patients who suffer from staphylococci are seen to undergo these conditions,
- Kidney failure where dialysis is needed
- Diabetic patients with the need for insulin
- Weak immune system due to medication or disorder
- Insect bites, minor trauma, eczema or other skin conditions
- Emphysema, cystic fibrosis or respiratory diseases
- Radiation or radiotherapy
Patients who are under treatment and invasive devices are related to their treatment, the infection can develop on their skin. Thereafter, you might check twice whether breathing tubes, urinary catheters, dialysis tubing, intravascular catheters and feeding tubes are clean. For those who are on a sports team and compelled to share a locker room where uniform, towels, razors or pieces of equipment are shared can be a victim of staph infection.
Unsanitary food suppliers can be a problem at large as their lack of enthusiasm in washing hands can lead to septic shock which is life-threatening for those with low blood pressure level.
Symptoms of Staph Infection
Ranging from major to minor skin problems, the symptom differs on a large scale among people.
Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome
One of the results of staph infection is the toxin that leads to staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome. Generally, children and babies are affected by the condition where fever and blisters are widely seen. Top layer of skin comes off when the blisters break leading to the raw and red surface looking like a burn.
Contagious yet painful rash can take place due to staph bacteria and large blisters mainly take place in this condition. The blisters might often create consequences for oozing fluid developing a coloured crust.
Cellulites are a type of infection that develops in the deep layer of skin resulting swelling and redness on the surface of the skin. Ulcers or sores can develop in various ways.
One of the most common conditions occur due to staph infection is boils which is a pocket filled with pus becoming visible in an oil gland or a hair follicle. Skin of that area gets inflicted becoming swollen and red.
The term septicaemia refers to blood poisoning that infects a person’s bloodstream. Low blood pressure and fever are the primary signs of septicaemia and the bacteria of the infection can spread resulting adverse effects in several parts of the body which include,
- Muscles and bones
- Brain, lungs, heart and other internal organs
- Cardiac pacemakers and artificial joints
One of the results of staph infection is septic arthritis where the group of bacteria can damage toes, fingers, shoulders, knees and hips. Fever, severe pain in the affected places and joint swelling are the usual symptoms.
Toxic Shock Syndrome
This is considered as a life-threatening condition where toxins are produced by strains of staph bacteria having been related to different kinds of skin injuries, surgery and tampons. Confusion, abdominal pain, high fever, nausea and vomiting and rash on soles and palms are associated with the toxic shock syndrome.
Prevention of Staph Infection at Home
Once you notice the symptoms becoming visible on your skin, consultation with the general physician is necessary. Due to toxic shock syndrome, many of the adverse effects can occur. If the symptoms last more than a week or spread too quickly over your body, paying a visit to a medical professional is advisable.
Things to Follow
Before you take effective measures to protect yourself from a staph infection, you should understand that the condition cannot be treated completely. However, the chances of the condition can be reduced on a large scale.
- Washing hands with mild soap and water on a daily basis
- Using disposable tissue for blowing nose
- Cleaning cuts and injured areas and keeping them covered
- Keeping skin clean by taking shower or bath once or twice a day
Keeping Risks of Using Tampons at Bay
Tampons are used for a long time period and staph bacteria can grow over the tampons that are in use on a large scale. The only way to limit breeding of tampons is to change them frequently and at least two to three times a day. Look for the tampons with the lowest absorbency and keep altering sanitary napkins when you can.
Take Care of Your Food
You should wash your hands every time when you consume anything, no matter whether you are using spoons. In case, the food has to be left outside, make sure that the hot remains hot at the temperature of 140 F and cold food remains cold at 40 F.
Complications Observed in Staphylococci
The grave side effect of staph infection is the scalded skin disorder and the production of infection related to it. In this skin condition, a certain type of protein existing in the skin loses its effectual power that can hold several layers of skin together.
Due to this conditions, blisters develop on the skin; especially, on the top layer of skin. Once the condition is seen on a large scale over various skin regions, the state of the condition can start to deteriorate.
It is very important to take steps against the scalded skin and generally, intravenous antibiotics are prescribed for the treatment. Moreover, the medical practitioners guide on safeguarding the skin from dehydration is that large peeling does not occur.
Diagnosis of Staphylococci
If there is no sign of severity once the infection took place, the medical professionals diagnose it by checking the appearance without recommending any laboratory tests. Once the condition becomes critical, it leads to pneumonia, endocarditic and infection in the bloodstream where culturing of the blood sample is required.
Special laboratory tests are performed to determine the condition and the further diagnosis is dependent on the special tests where antibiotics can fight against bacteria.
How to Treat Staph Infection
If you maintain good hygiene, you can treat the infection. This refers to the fact cleaning and washing bruises can keep the bacteria away. For cleaning or washing the injured area, it is best to use an antibacterial cleanser or soap.
After cleaning the area, applying antibiotic ointment is a must thing to carry out. Additionally, taking non-prescription painkillers like acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen can relieve you from pain temporarily. The medical professional can even prescribe an oral antibiotic or an antibiotic cream for treating the condition.
Once you are following the dosage prescribed by the doctor, you should not stop taking the medicine before the course is over. After taking the pills, you are bound to feel better.
- Of course, various medical practitioners have different opinions and the prescribed drugs are effective in dealing with bacteria.
- Cefuroxime, vancomycin, dicloxacillin, oxacillin and cephalexin are the recommended antibiotics for treating the condition.
Not taking the medicine abruptly has its own consequences because the staph infection can come back being resistant to the antibiotics. Moreover, if the severity of the disease increases, you might have to be hospitalised.
Steps Followed by Healthcare Professionals for Treating Staphylococci
Medicine doctors, internists, paediatricians and other primary care medical practitioners can treat the skin condition. The specialist in emergency medicine can treat the patient if the person requires emergency or urgent treatment.
For this type of skin disease, dermatologists can help people to get relief. In case, a complication of the infection spread to internal organs and bloodstream, people may seek medical advice from cardiologists, critical care specialists, surgeons and pulmonologists.
Prognosis of Staphylococci
The term prognosis refers to the outcome of the condition and the result of staphylococci is dependent on the several factors. Degree of the outcome related to the fact whether the patient has the underlying medical condition.
Superficial conditions and skin conditions are likely to be treated with antibiotics quickly and infection in the bloodstream like sepsis takes affects your body. You should always keep in mind that if you take antibiotics for a staph infection, you still can develop infection rapidly.
Guarded prognosis is available for widespread infection like sepsis and the rate of mortality is around 20%-40%. Untimely death is susceptible to occur only when the patient suffers from infection in the bloodstream.
MRSA and Staph infection
Another thing that you should know about the consequences of this disease is MRSA that refers to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This state develops due to the resistance to drugs that involved a usual antibiotic, namely, methicillin. The infections are similar to that staph infection which again leads to blood infections and other complications on the skin.
Now you can understand that prevention of the skin disease is not critical if you take easy steps like not sharing towels or washing and covering injured cuts. Food poisoning can be critical and you should pay heed to food contamination which leads to the production of toxins in the body. The symptoms of food intoxication appear within six hours of consumption along with diarrhoea or vomiting; thereafter, it is important to take medical help as soon as possible.
So, if you undergo any of such conditions, rush to your general physician to get help at the earliest phase. The pus-filled red coloured pimple-like infections are nothing to worry about because only primary level help of medical science is required to deal with the condition. Follow prevention steps at home and maintain good hygiene to get rid of risks of septicaemia or other complicated conditions easily.