The staphylococcus bacteria found in the nose and on the skin, causes staph infections. Though rarely harmful until it invades internal areas of the body, once it does, the bacteria can cause serious complications of heart, lungs, bloodstream, joints, and bones. Staph infections can be resistant to antibiotic treatment.
Staph may develop as a result of the staphylococcus bacteria already in the body or may be transferred from person to person. The bacteria can survive extreme temperatures, stomach acid, high levels of sodium, and drying. Common modes of transmission include unsanitary food preparation, skin-to-skin contact, sheets, towels, and razors. Poorly sanitized medical tools such as urinary catheters can also transfer the bacteria. Staph is common in the hospital setting, despite attempts to create a sterile atmosphere. People with compromised immune systems, insulin-dependent diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and skin conditions are more prone to contract the infection.
Although staph infections can cause serious health complications, you can decrease your chances of developing the condition by washing your hands, keeping the proper foods hot or cold, not sharing personal items like towels and razors, and keeping wounds covered.
- Staphylococcal skin syndrome