In many cases we tend to ignore some diseases and especially skin infections but only learn how much harm they can cause once they become fatal. Staph infection is one such bacterial skin infection which can range from a simple boil to a life threatening infection. Read along to know more about staph infection, its symptoms and treatment options available to cure this disease with Lt Gen (Dr) Umesh K Sharma, AVSM, MD, DM (Nephrology) Erstwhile Commandant and Director, Army Hospital (Referral and Research), New Delhi. Presently, Head of Department, Nephrology and Renal Transplantation, Ramesh Group of Hospitals, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.
What is Staph Infection?
Caused by staphylococcus bacteria found on the skin or inside the nose of an individual is termed as the staph infection. Although in most of the cases this bacteria is not very harmful and is considered to be a minor skin infection but can turn into a deadly disease if it gets deeper into the body. If this bacteria gets into a person's joint, bloodstream lungs, muscles or heart it can possibly turn into a life threatening staph infection. This infection generally looks like a yellow crusting on the skin and can begin with a little cut. It can range from a simple boil to a flesh eating infection. Here’s what Dr Sharma has to say about this disease, “Staphylococci reside in the skin. Which is why so many infections start with a boil. Staph aureus is a deadly pathogen. The species gets its name from the golden coloured colonies it forms in culture media. Methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) is usually a hospital-acquired infection that is more virulent and more difficult to treat.”
What are the Symptoms of Staph Infection?
It is better to look for early signs and symptoms of any disease and seek immediate treatment in order to avoid further complications. Here are some of the symptoms of staph infection that can be observed in a person are-
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Septic Arthritis is caused when the bacteria targets the hips, toes, fingers or knees. The symptoms of septic arthritis caused due to staph infection are-
- Swelling in joints
- Severe pain in joints
The symptoms of food poisoning caused due to staph infection can be observed within a few hours of consuming contaminated food. Here are the signs that you can look for food poisoning caused due to staph infection-
- Low blood pressure
Toxic Shock Syndrome
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Linked with surgery, tampons and skin wounds, toxic shock syndrome is a life threatening condition that is caused by toxins produced from the staph bacteria. The symptoms of this disease are-
- Muscle ache
- High Fever
- Stomach ache
This infection is caused when the staph enters a person’s bloodstream and hence is also known as the bloodstream infection. Once in your bloodstream, this infection can reach deeper points of your body and cause-
- Infection in bones and muscles
- Can affect cardiac pacemaker and artificial joints
- Has the potential to infect organs like lungs, heart and brain
The other early signs and symptoms of the staph infection are-
- Open sore
- Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome
Staph Infection Treatment
As by we know all about what staph infection is and its symptoms. Let us take a close look at the treatment options that are available for this disease.
- Wound Drainage- A staph infection treatment option in which the doctor makes an incision into the sore and drains out the fluid that has been collected at the site.
- Antibiotics- One of the most common treatments for staph infection is through antibiotics. Based upon the bacteria behind the infection a doctor might prescribe antibiotics to his patient based on his/her condition.
- Device Removal-In some cases when a device like cardiac pacemaker or artificial joints are infected then an immediate removal of these devices or prosthetics is required.
With inputs from Lt Gen (Dr) Umesh K Sharma, AVSM, MD, DM (Nephrology) Erstwhile Commandant and Director, Army Hospital (Referral and Research), New Delhi. Presently, Head of Department, Nephrology and Renal Transplantation, Ramesh Group of Hospitals, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.
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