Occasionally, staph can cause infection; staph bacteria are one of the most common
causes of skin infections in the United States.
Most of these skin infections are minor (such as pimples and boils) and can be treated
without antibiotics (also known as antimicrobials or antibacterials).
However, staph bacteria also can cause serious infections (such as surgical wound
infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia).
However, it is not possible to know whether the infections is caused by staph or
another bacteria, like group A Beta-hemolytic streptococcus. And in many cases, it
doesn’t matter, as the antibiotic your child has been prescribed will likely treat both
A sample of the infected area is used to grow the staph bacteria in the laboratory.
Tests are done to determine which antibiotics are active for treating the infection.
A culture of infected skin is especially useful in recurrent, persistent, or severe
infections and in cases of antibiotic failure.
These are the usual treatments for staph infections. They may include a topical
antibiotic cream for simple impetigo, warm compresses and drainage for abscesses, an
oral antibiotic, or an intravenous antibiotic for more serious infections.
Found in the nose, and sometimes on the skin, but also can grow in wounds and other
sites of the body
MRSA can no longer be killed by this antibiotic
Signs of illness can include fever, elevated white blood cell count, pus, pneumonia,
and inflammation (warmth, redness and swelling).
Those with weakened immune systems from sickness or chronic disease are the most
MRSA infections have been reported among persons in prisons, players of close-
contact sports, men who have sex with other men, and other populations.
The germ can be spread by direct person-to-person contact with an infected person, or
by contact with objects or surfaces contaminated by MRSA.
Staph can also come off infected skin onto shared objects and surfaces and get onto
the skin of the person who uses the object or surface next.
Examples of shared objects that might spread staph include personal hygiene objects
(i.e. towels, soap, wound dressings, bandages, etc.), sheets, clothes, benches in saunas
or hot tubs, and athletic equipment.
In other words, anything that could have touched the skin of a staph-infected person
can carry the bacteria to the skin of another person.
Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water.
If there is no visible dirt on the skin, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with a clean bandage until healed.
Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or material and surfaces contaminated from
Avoid skin-to-skin contact with persons who have skin infections.
Do not share personal items with other persons
Clean objects and surfaces that are shared with other persons, such as athletic
equipment, before you use them.
Keep infected areas covered with a clean, dry bandage
Follow doctor’s instructions on proper care of wound
Put disposable waste in a separate trash bag and close tightly before throwing it out
Use gloves to change bandages and then wash your hands afterwards
Do not share personal items.
Disinfect all non-clothing (and non-disposable items) that come into contact with the
wound with a solution of one tablespoon of household bleach mixed with one quart of
water (must be prepared fresh daily), or a phenol-containing store-bought cleaning
Wash linens and clothes that become soiled with hot water and laundry detergent, and
then dry clothes in a dryer.
Drying clothes in a hot dryer, rather than air-drying , helps kill bacteria in clothes.
Wash dishes like you normally would, or in a home dishwasher.
Avoid participating in sports with skin-to-skin contact until your infection has healed.
MRSA/Staph is often misdiagnosed as spider or insect bites.
• MRSA/Staph spreads by infected skin to healthy skin contact as well as infected
to healthy skin. It can enter healthy, clean, undamaged skin through such contact.
• Washing your hands with soap and warm water can prevent the spread of
• MRSA/Staph lives on skin and survives on objects, such as towels and exercise
equipment for 24 hours or longer.
• If you think you may have MRSA/Staph, consult your doctor or healthcare provider.
• For all skin infections, dispose of bandages properly and wash your hands frequently
to avoid spreading germs to others.