If you spend much time around a hospital, you’ve probably heard quite a bit about staph infections. But for the average Jane or Joe, staph infections may be somewhat of a mystery. What exactly are staph infections? How are they spread? Can you prevent a staph infection?
Staph Infections Defined
Staph infections are infections triggered by the staphylococcus bacteria. Unfortunately, a person with a staph infection breaks out in a rash. Initially, the rash begins with a red, itchy area. Although staph sores can occur anywhere on the body, it’s often found on the face near the nose and even inside nostrils. Staph can live in a healthy person’s nose or on his/her skin.
Interestingly, staph infections are common. According to Web MD, one-third of people in the US are carriers of the bacteria. Staph infections tend to be most dangerous when they get into the blood and can even cause death if this happens. In fact, staph infections kill 12,000 people yearly (WebMD).
How Staph Infections are Spread
Have you ever thought of using a towel as dangerous? A common way staph is spread is through using a towel another person used. Also, skin-to-skin contact or touching infected objects are additional ways staph passes from person to person.
Gyms, locker rooms, hospitals and nursing care facilities are prime locations where staph breeds. Staph infections cost hospitals upwards of a staggering 9 billion dollars yearly (WebMD).
Preventing a Staph Infection
You’ve most likely heard it’s not a good idea to take antibiotics for illnesses like common colds and flu viruses. However, the real scare about taking antibiotics you don’t require is that by doing so, staph infections mutate and can no longer be snuffed out with those medicines. So, definitely, don’t take unnecessary antibiotics (Mayo Clinic).
Remember being told to sing the Birthday Song while washing your hands with soap? Experts now suggest singing the ABC Song while scrubbing your hands with plenty of soap to prevent staph. When hospitalized, request doctors and nurses wash their hands before attending to you.
Wipe down commonly used areas with disinfecting cleaning chemicals. With many disinfectants available in a spray form, cleaning is quick and effective. In a pinch, use disinfecting pre-moistened towelettes purchased at the grocery store.
Get an antibiotic before you go in for surgery to prevent getting a staph infection during surgery.
Mayo Clinic website.
Web MD website.