Staph is a bacteria or germ that is causing skin infections throughout the community. It can cause lesions that resemble a pimple, a boil or just an area of red, hot and painful skin. It’s often mistaken for a spider bite.
A new variety of staph is becoming very common, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA. It is resistant to many antibiotics, making it more difficult to treat.
Most staph infections are minor and limited to the skin. Openings in the skin, such as cuts and scrapes, make one more susceptible. Occasionally, a very serious infection can occur if the germ works its way into the bloodstream. It can also infect surgical sites or cause pneumonia.
A pimple or “spider bite” that worsens over a day or two should be evaluated by a physician.
Anyone can get a staph infection. We are seeing it in our own community with increasing frequency.
The most likely ways to get a staph infection are the following:
- Contact with things or surfaces contaminated with staph bacteria
- Skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a staph infection
- Crowded living conditions and locker rooms
- Poor hygiene
Treatment for a staph infection can be as simple as having a doctor drain a boil. Antibiotics are often given, as several are still effective. One must take the entire dose of medication unless otherwise directed.
In order to keep staph infections from spreading, I suggest the following:
- Do not squeeze a pimple or boil. Typically, this will only spread or worsen the infection.
- Wash your hands often with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after being out in public.
- Keep all scrapes and cuts covered with bandages.
- Do not share personal items such as clothing, towels, razors, etc.