WANTED: Staph Infection
By: Beth Sapp
What is Staph?
Staph is caused by the Staphylococus bacteria. Staph can be barely harmful or deadly. It all depends on how quickly you find it. It enters the body through cuts or scrapes on the skin. One type of staph is called celluitis, and it affects the skin's deeper layers but can be treated by antibiotics. there are up to 30 different types of Staph, all varying in levels of harm.
Transmission, How does it enter the host?
What most people don't know is Staph is everywhere. 20 to 30 percent of adults are already carrying it in their bodies. As soon as you get a cut Staph can get in unless treated quickly. Injury and surgery are easy gateways for Staph. Broken or cracked skin can also draw in Staph. Although it can easily enter, without the bacteria in your body already, Staph can't develop.
Who Does it Victimize?
Staph infection can victimize anyone. Children, teens, and adults. Typically, athletes can be be proned to developing the infection. This is because of locker rooms, gyms etc. The sweat from other people that is left on equipment and seating is a breeding place for Staph. For instance if a male athlete (age doesn't matter) was bench pressing. The guy before him left sweat on the seat and bar. There is a good chance the athlete going to use the equipment next, only wipes off the sweat from the seat and then proceed to work out. If the male athlete working out possibly had a small paper cut, scrape or bruise from earlier has a much higher chance of hosting the Staph bacteria without knowing. People with diabetes, cancer, vascular disease, newborns, and babies breastfeeding all are at higher risk.
Where is Staph Found?
Staph is everywhere. It breeds in multiple places. Luckily, eveytime we get cuts or bruises we aren't infected, but the possibility of it happening is always there. Kitchen counter tops that have not been sterilized, gyms, and anywhere around the world!
Symptoms of Staph
Staph begins with small areas of tenderness swelling and redness. They first look like a pimple, but under the skin is a knot and is typically hard and tender. Called an ulcer.. Or it can began with a open sore. Typically, the sore would have the bump/ knot part normal colored with a red ring around it. Rashes called Impetigo are very painful. They usaully have oozing blisters, but they are found around the mouth or nose. If it is not treated at the first sight of the ulcer, hosts can come down with a fever, chills and sweating. Also, a lot of swelling in the infected area. Blood poisoning could also occur, although its very rare. Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome is a very painful symptom as well. It creates fever, a rash and sometimes blisters. When the blisters break, the top layer of skin comes off, leaving a red, raw surface that looks like a burn.
Degree of Damage
Typically, Staph is very controllable, if caught early. However, if it's not treated in the early stages, it can become very dangerous. Even life threatening. Staph enters the body through skin, but it can easily enter the bloodstream creating a very dangerous situation for the host. Once the bacteria has entered the bloodstream, it can easily spread to very important parts of the body such as: heart, lungs, bones, joints, and the central nervous system, leaving devastating results. If the Staph enters the heart, it could easily affect the valves in the host's heart and produce endocarditis. Endocarditis can lead to heart faliure as well. Staph can also cause blood infections such as pneumonia. As soon as there is a sign as Staph any where on someones body, they needed to be treated as quick as possible!
To start off treatment, doctors will typically perform several different tests to determine what type of Staph bacteria is causing the infection. By doing this, they can figure out how to treat the patients in the most effective way. Below are the specific types of treatment for Staph infection:
- Wound Drainage- If you have a skin infection (typically the blisters, or ulcers) will be handled with "popping it" a small incision in the infected area is be made and a doctor or nurse will remove the fluid inside.
- Antibiotics- Staph is slowly becoming more resistant to antibiotics (Natural Selection) The main drugs used to kill off Staph are: cephalosporins, nafcillin related drugs, and sulfa drugs. They don't always fail to protect the body against staph, but doctors have been finding that they have not been nearly as affective. The only other drug that is guaranteed to stop staph is vancomycin (the most toxic antibiotic) They only give out this antibiotic in serious life-threatening cases of staph. They typically will give the drug through the veins, because it is most affective.
- Surgery- if the Staph goes untreated for a long time then surgery is required. The skin infected must be removed if gone untreated for too long.
- Staph is contagious it will spread with skin to skin contact
- The best way to prevent Staph is to keep all open wounds clean
- Staph is responsible for causing food poisoning by releasing enterotoxins into the food.
- Staph isn't harmful to the enviorment, because it is all around us. We are only affected by it through open wounds
- There is a second strain of staph called, methicillin-resistant Staphylococus aureus, also known as MRSA. This strain of staph is most resistant to antibiotics.