Symptoms of Staph Infection

Staph bacteria lives on human skin and can give you a range of infections varying from mild to life threatening. Learn symptoms to recognize staph infection.

Sheezan Nezami
Written by: Sheezan NezamiUpdated at: Jul 12, 2013 13:19 IST
Symptoms of Staph Infection

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It is always said that prevention is better than cure. But many a times, in spite of all the prevention, people suffer from different diseases. In such a situation, it is important to figure out the disease in its early stage, and follow proper treatment.

girl wearing maskStaph infection is a common problem caused by Staphylococcus or ‘staph’ bacteria. Almost 25 per cent people carry these bacteria in their nose, mouth, skin, genitals, or anal organs. These bacteria can occur in all ages and even sound health. Therefore it is better to recognize it in the beginning stage, than letting it aggravate.

Mostly, these bacteria cause skin infection, but they may turn lethal by penetrating deep inside the skin into lungs, heart, joints or blood stream.

Since the infection occurs on skin mostly, some of the common symptoms as told by MDH (Minnesota Department of Health) for it include:

  • Abscess- Infection occurs at the site of injury or cut. That part of the skin becomes red, painful and swells. It is filled with pus and is warm.
  • Cellulitis- Here infection occurs in the underlying layer of skin. It starts with a scrape or cut, but bacteria enter deep inside. It causes pain and the area reddens and swells.

According to NHS Choice, another deadly skin disease caused by these bacteria is called Staphylococcal or scalded skin syndrome. It occurs due to toxin released by the bacteria. These toxins badly damage the skin. Its symptoms include:

  • Painful skin
  • High temperature (above 100.4F)
  • Large areas of skin peeling off or falling away
  • Redness which usually spreads across the entire skin.

Apart from skin related symptoms, other symptoms include:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Malaise
  • Fever or chills.

These are symptoms which occur because of lung infection or blood stream infection.

Staph infection is not limited to above mentioned disease. It can trigger more complications.  Mayo clinic tells about more of its symptoms and diseases related to these bacteria.

  • Sore around mouth or nose- It is most common in young children and infants, but occurs in all age group. Large blisters are visible, which ooze fluid. Honey like coloured crust occurs near the infected area. It is called impetigo and is contagious with painful rash.
  • Fever with rash or sometimes blister- This symptom leads to scalded skin syndrome and occurs mostly in new born babies. Whenever the blister breaks, top layer of skin comes off. The visible red surface looks like a burn.

These bacteria can sometimes be very dangerous, leading to life threatening disease called Toxic shock syndrome. Its symptom includes:

  • High fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A rash on palms and soles that resembles sunburn
  • Confusion
  • Muscles aches
  • Seizures
  • Headache

As mentioned earlier, these bacteria also target body joints, leading to a disease called septic arthritis. Usually they target knees, but other joints can also be infected, such as ankle, hip, wrist, elbow or shoulder. Its symptoms include:

  • Joint swelling
  • Severe pain in the affected joint
  • Fever
  • Quivering and chill

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