Staph Infection – Pictures, Rash, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

An infection by the staphylococcus bacterium is referred to as a staph infection. The bacterium is usually found to normally occur in the nasal passages or skin of even health individuals. In most instances, the bacteria do not cause any medical problems, or may sometimes cause mild skin infections.A staph infection can however turn deadly if the bacteria migrate to deeper areas of the body such as the heart, joints, lungs, bloodstream, or bones.

In the bygone era, staph infections usually occurred in people with prolonged or chronic illnesses, or with an impaired immune system, or in hospitalized patients. However, in today’s world, a lot of healthy and normal individuals are also suffering from life-threatening staph infections. Many new kinds of staph infections have also stopped responding to existing antibiotic treatments.

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Symptoms of staph infection

The signs and symptoms of a staph infection can range from mild skin problems to endocarditis, a deadly infection of the cardiac valve lining. The symptoms also tend to vary as per the site and severity of staph infections.

Staph infections of the skin

The skin may experience the below listed abnormalities due to infection with staph bacteria:

  • Cellulitis: It is a type of staph infection that affects the deeper sections of the skin and causes redness, inflammation, and swelling of the skin surface. Sores, ulcers, or discharge of fluids from affected areas may also be observed. Cellulitis usually occurs on the feet and lower portions of the legs, mostly in the elderly.
  • Boils:It is one of the most common abnormalities associated with a staph infection. A boil is a pocket of pus that develops in a hair follicle or a sebaceous/oil gland. The affected sections of skin may also experience redness and swelling. When a boil ruptures, pus, blood, or reddish fluid may ooze out. Boils typically occur on the buttocks, groin, or below the arms.
  • Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome: It is caused due to the effect of toxins released by staph bacteria. This kind of staph infection usually affects newborns and is characterized by fever and rash formation, and sometimes appearance of blisters. When the blisters break, the upper skin layer will wither and fall off, leaving behind a reddish and raw skin surface which resembles a burn.
  • Impetigo:It is a contagious type of staph infection that is identified by the formation of a painful rash. It can affect people of all age groups, but is more common in infants and younger children. Impetigo staph infection occurs in many forms and all of them result in development of large blisters that discharge fluids and later develop into a honey-colored crust. These blisters typically appear on the nose and mouth.

Bacteremia and staph infection

Bacteremia is an abnormal condition identified by infection of the blood by staph bacteria. It is also known as blood poisoning. Persistent fever is the first sign of bacteremia. The staph infection can also migrate to other parts of the body and cause health anomalies in:

  • Vital internal organs such as the brain, heart, lungs, etc.
  • The bones and muscles
  • Artificial joints, cardiac pacemakers, and/or other types of surgically implanted devices may also suffer from the ill-effects of staph infections.

Toxic shock syndrome

 It is a life-threatening condition caused due to spread of toxins by some strains of staph bacteria. It has links with tampons use, skin injuries, and surgery. The condition occurs suddenly and may cause:

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  • High fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Seizures
  • Headache
  • Disorientation
  • A sunburn resembling rash on the palms and soles.

Septic arthritis

It is an abnormal condition characterized by anomalies of the hip, knees, shoulders, elbows, ankles, and/or wrists caused due to staph infection. Symptoms include:

  • The infected joint may experience swelling and extreme pain
  • Fever
  • Shaking and chills

Causes of staph infection

Many people have staph bacteria on the skin and other areas of the body without it resulting in a staph infection. People with a weakened immune system or underlying health anomalies are at greater risk to developing staph infections. Additionally, the below listed risk factors can increase the susceptibility to developing staph infections:

  • Presence of burns or surgical wounds.
  • Use of invasive medical tools or procedures, including feeding tubes, dialysis, intravascular or urinary catheters, and respiratory intubation.
  • Sharing of personal belongings such as towels, razors, uniforms, etc.
  • Playing contact sports that cause skin cuts or abrasions.

Staph infections are contagious. Hence it can spread from one infected person to another. Staph bacteria are dogged pathogens and can survive on even non-living things like pillowcases, towels, etc. for quite some time, before migrating to a person who uses or touches them. Staph bacteria can overcome high salt levels, drying, and even high temperatures.

Treatment of staph infection

  • A staph infection is normally treated with antibiotics. Stronger antibiotics are prescribed to treat antibiotic-resistant strains of staph bacteria.
  • Sores caused via staph infection may require drainage of fluids via an incision.
  • Any invasive device that causes staph infection needs to be immediately removed.
  • Other health conditions caused due to staph infections are treated as per standard treatment procedures. 

Staph infection pictures (including rash)

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