STAPH INFECTION - Watsons Health


Staphylococcus, often called staph, is a group of bacteria. They cause various diseases like toxic shock syndrome, food poisoning etc.

They cause diseases through direct infection or toxins produced by them. They result in the formation of pus as found in furuncles, boils or abscesses. The affected area will be painful or tender and, in some cases, may be swollen or reddened.

Staph infections can be treated with oral, topical or intravenous injections, based on the type of infection. Usually, these bacteria will not lead to diseases or minor skin problems.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, called as MRSA, is a kind of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin and other drugs in this class.

Skin infections

Boils. This is the most popular infection; it is a pocket of pus that builds in an oil gland or a hair follicle. The skin over the affected area normally changes to red and becomes swollen.

When a boil ruptures, it results to draining of pus. Boils are seen under the arms or around buttocks or the groin.

Impetigo. This skin infection is usually painful, contagious and develops blisters that may release fluid. This results in the formation of honey-coloured crusts.

Cellulitis. This infection occurs in the deeper layers of the skin and results in skin redness and swelling on the skin surface. Ulcers or oozing on the skin may also happen.

Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome. This scalded skin syndrome is caused by the toxins produced by staph. It is commonly seen on babies and children.

Blisters, rash and fever are the common symptoms of this infection. If the blister bursts, the outer layer of skin comes off and leaves a raw, red surface that looks like a burn.

Food poisoning

Staph bacteria are known for food poisoning. The symptoms last for half a day and they disappear by themselves.

The common symptoms of staph food poisoning are:

  • Dehydration
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Septicemia

Toxic shock syndrome

This serious and life-threatening condition is caused by toxins of staph bacteria. The common symptoms are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • A high fever
  • Confusion
  • Septic arthritis
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhoea
  • A rash on your palms and soles that resembles sunburn

Septic arthritis is a result of staph infection. The bacteria often infect the knees, hips, shoulders, fingers and toes.

Signs and symptoms are swelling, severe pain on the infected joint and fever.


During physical examination, your doctor will look for skin sores. Samples of tissue and nasal secretions will be collected and tested to confirm the infection.



Common treatment options of staph infections are listed below:


Nafcillin, cephalosporins, vancomycin and sulfa drugs are prescribed for staph infections.

Since staph strains are resistant to other conventional antibiotics, doctors recommend vancomycin. It has to be administered intravenously.

Draining the wound

In case of skin infections, wound drainage will be needed to get rid of fluids on the affected area.

Removing the device

If your infection contains prosthetic or a device, it has to be removed with the help of surgery.

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