Staphylococcus Aureus: Transmission, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment
Nov 15, 2023
A genus of bacteria known as Staphylococcus is responsible for staphylococcal infections, or staph infections. There are currently about thirty distinct strains or species of Staphylococcus bacteria. The most common pathogen among people is Staphylococcus aureus.
Physicians prescribe antibiotics to treat staphylococcal infections. Severe Staph infections can cause serious health issues as well as mortality. Different strains of Staph bacteria cause problems in various body parts. A Staphylococcus infection may affect the:
Skin: Skin infections are most commonly caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Your skin may boil, blister, and turn red as a result of this. These infections can affect any part of your body, including your face; they usually start around the mouth and nose.
Breasts/chest: Breastfeeding women may get mastitis, which causes breast swelling and pus-filled abscesses.
Digestive system: Eating food contaminated with germs can lead to food poisoning, which can induce vomiting and diarrhea.
Bones: The bacteria may infect your bones, causing pain and inflammation. This infection is called osteomyelitis.
Heart and lungs: If the germs get into your lungs, abscesses may form, which can result in pneumonia and other respiratory problems. Staph infection can lead to cardiac failure in addition to damaging the heart valves.
Bloodstream: When bacteria release toxins into your body, it can lead to a deadly infection called sepsis, often known as blood poisoning.
Transmission Of Staph Infection
Like other illnesses, staph infections can spread through coughs and sneezes as well as other ways like:
Skin infection: Skin infections caused by Staphylococcus bacteria can be brought on by contact with the bacteria. The very contagious viruses usually enter the body through cuts. Pus from a Staph infection is contagious. Infection can occur via handling infected towels or other materials, as well as from coming into touch with contaminated discharge.
Food poisoning: Cross-contamination occurs frequently when handling food, leading to ingestion of the staph bacteria.
Toxic shock syndrome: When a person who is menstruating uses a tampon for an extended period, blood collects on the tampon, creating an ideal setting for the growth of vaginal bacteria. The vaginal lining has tiny punctures that allow pathogens to enter the body.
Mastitis: During nursing, a nipple break allows bacteria from the baby's mouth to enter your breast. If you don't regularly remove the contents of your breasts, bacteria may get stuck and cause disease.
Endocarditis: Germs can occasionally cause endocarditis by entering the bloodstream through the mouth. Those with poor dental health or those who bleed when brushing their teeth may experience this more frequently.
The symptoms of a staph infection vary depending on where the infection is located on your body. Skin infections are the most prevalent location for Staph infections. They often resemble pimples, all red, angry, and packed with pus. They could leak fluids. You may think you have a bite or an ingrown hair.
The following are the signs and symptoms of a staph infection on the skin:
Boils and abscesses: These painful sores under the skin that sting and turn red.
Cellulitis: This type of infection causes the skin and tissue just below the surface to become painful, red, and swollen.
Folliculitis: Behind each hair follicle is a little, painful blister that resembles a pimple.
Impetigo: Fluid-filled blisters or sores that rupture and leave a yellow or brown crust behind.
Skin flakes occur all over your body as a result of the deadly infection known as staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS). It typically affects infants and young children.
Often, the first indications of these types of staph infections are red, warm, and sensitive areas. As they get worse, you can observe pus or discharge, and the red patches will get larger. Open sores can form from some Staph-related skin diseases.
When Staph infections occur in areas of the body other than the skin, they can cause a range of disorders with different symptoms. Among these are the following conditions and symptoms:
Food poisoning: Vomiting and diarrhea are two of the more serious symptoms of food poisoning.
Mastitis: This illness, which mainly affects nursing moms, results in inflammation, discomfort, and abscesses.
Septicemia: Staph bacteria in the circulation can cause sepsis, often known as blood poisoning. Among the symptoms include fever and dangerously low blood pressure, or hypotension.
Syndrome of toxic shock (TSS): TSS is a severe form of septicemia characterized by fever, muscle aches, and a rash that resembles sunburn.
Endocarditis: This infection of the lining of the heart muscle is commonly brought on by Staph infections. It may affect the heart muscle itself as well as the valves in your heart. Symptoms include fever, sweating, weight loss, and an irregular heartbeat.
All individuals are susceptible to staph infections, but some people are more vulnerable than others. Hospital staff members are more likely to have skin bacteria. Staph infections most commonly affect people who:
Administer medicine by injection.
Are hospitalized, have recently had surgery, or have catheters or other medical devices inserted into them
Address a long-term medical condition like eczema, diabetes, or heart disease.
Have immune systems that are weakened.
Are providing child care.
Worn a tampon continuously for a long time.
Possess congenital cardiac defects.
Have undergone additional cardiac valve surgery.
How Is A Staph Infection Diagnosed?
Your doctor's diagnosis of a staph infection will depend on which region of the body is affected. Skin infections caused by Staph are quite noticeable. Healthcare practitioners routinely utilize Gram stain testing and bacterial culture assays to assess the type and number of bacteria present.
Skin: To diagnose a staph infection, medical experts usually perform a skin check. Your healthcare provider may choose to take a sample of your skin to look for microorganisms.
Food poisoning: Your doctor will want to know how long you've been sick and how bad your symptoms are. You may be required to submit a sample of your excrement.
Mastitis: After considering your symptoms, your doctor could choose to send a sample of your milk to a lab for bacterial testing.
Toxic shock syndrome: Your healthcare provider may take urine or blood samples to check for germs. Sometimes they will also perform a CT scan to see if any of your organs have been impacted by the sickness.
Endocarditis: An echocardiogram, blood tests, and your symptoms will all be used by your medical practitioner to make this diagnosis.
Most skin infections caused by Staph can be treated with topical antibiotics. Your healthcare provider may also drain a boil or abscess by making a small cut to release the pus.
In addition, physicians prescribe oral antibiotics to treat staph infections both internally and on the skin. Which treatment is best will depend on the type of infection. Healthcare providers utilize intravenous (IV) antibiotics to treat severe staph infections.
If you have a more serious staph infection and require an IV, your doctor may recommend that you remain in the hospital for a while.
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