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Health Information For Parents
Staph is the shortened name for Staphylococcus (staf-uh-low-KAH-kus), a type of bacteria. These bacteria live harmlessly on many skin surfaces, especially around the nose, mouth, genitals, and anus. But if the skin is punctured or broken, staph bacteria can enter the wound and cause an infection.
Staphylococcus aureus cause most staph skin infections, and also can release toxins (poisons) that lead to illnesses like food poisoning or toxic shock syndrome.
Staph skin infections show up in lots of different ways. Conditions often caused by S. aureus include:
Staph bacteria can spread:
Warm, humid environments can contribute to staph infections, so excessive sweating can increase someone’s chances of developing an infection. People with skin problems like burns or eczema may be more likely to get staph skin infections.
Most small staph skin infections can be treated at home:
Treat a stye by using warm compresses over the eye (with the eye closed) three or four times a day. Always use a clean washcloth each time. Occasionally, a stye will need a topical antibiotic.
Teens who get a staph infection on skin areas that are normally shaved should stop shaving until the infection clears up. If they do have to shave the area, they should use a clean disposable razor or clean the electric razor after each use.
Your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic for a staph skin infection. Give it on schedule for as many days as directed. More serious staph infections might need to be treated in a hospital, and an abscess (or pocket of pus) that doesn’t respond to home care might need to be drained.
To help prevent a staph infection from spreading to other parts of the body:
How long it takes for a staph skin infection to heal depends on the type of infection and whether it’s treated. A boil, for example, may take 10 to 20 days to heal without treatment, but treatment may speed up the healing process. Most styes go away on their own within several days.
Call your doctor if:
An abscess is a sign of an infection, usually on the skin. Find out what to do if your child develops one.
People can get abscesses on the skin, under the skin, in a tooth, or even inside the body. Most abscesses are caused by infection, so it can help to know what to do. Find out in this article for teens.
Paronychia is an infection of the skin around a fingernail or toenail. Most of the time, it’s not serious and can be treated at home. Learn what causes it, what to do, and how to prevent it.
Paronychia is an infection of the skin around a fingernail or toenail. Most of the time, it’s not serious. Find out what causes it, what to do, and how to prevent it.
Doctors order wound drainage cultures when they suspect wounds are infected.
It’s important to protect kids from sharp and dangerous items around and outside the home. Here are ways to prevent cuts and other injuries.
Find out how to handle minor cuts at home – and when to get medical care for a more serious injury.
Cellulitis is a skin infection that involves areas of tissue just below the skin’s surface. It can affect any part of the body, but it’s most common on exposed areas, such as the face, arms, or lower legs.
Osteomyelitis is a bone infection that can happen when germs enter an open wound. The easiest way to prevent it is to keep skin clean.
Sometimes a bad cut that gets infected can lead to even worse things, like a bone infection called osteomyelitis. The easiest way to protect yourself is to practice good hygiene.
Tetanus (also called lockjaw) is a preventable disease that affects the muscles and nerves, usually due to a contaminated wound.
Toxic shock syndrome is a serious but uncommon bacterial infection. TSS is a medical emergency – symptoms include sudden high fever, a faint feeling, diarrhea, headache, and muscle aches.
Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and underlying tissues that can affect any area of the body. It begins in an area of broken skin, like a cut or scratch.
Impetigo is a contagious skin infection that causes blisters or sores on the face, neck, hands, and diaper area. Learn how this common problem is treated and what can help prevent it.
Impetigo is a strange-sounding word that might be new to you. It’s an infection of the skin caused by bacteria. Read this article to learn more about it.
Impetigo is a skin infection caused by fairly common bacteria. Read this article to learn how to recognize it and what to do about it.
MRSA is a type of bacteria that the usual antibiotics can’t tackle anymore. The good news is that there are some simple ways to protect yourself from being infected. Find out how.
MRSA is a type of bacteria that the usual antibiotics can’t tackle anymore. Simple precautions can help protect your kids from becoming infected.
Most small cuts, scrapes, or abrasions heal on their own. Here are tips for teens on how to treat cuts at home – and when to get medical help.
Although toxic shock syndrome (TSS) can be serious, it’s a very rare illness.
Antibiotics are powerful medicines that can help kids feel better — but only when they have certain illnesses. Find out if an antibiotic is right for your child.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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