A staph infection and an MRSA infection are the shortened versions of its full name: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. A staph infection is a potentially serious medical condition that is considered to be healthcare related (health care-associated MRSA or HA-MRSA) because it, in fact, occurs most frequently in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing and convalescent homes, hospices, dialysis centers, day clinics and other similar healthcare facilities and close knit communal quarters (community associated MRSA or CA-MRSA). Furthermore, infections usually tend to be resistant to the wide variety of antibiotics that are most commonly used to treat them and thus they can, and often do, result in grave infections of the skin and/or soft tissue, dangerous types of pneumonia, meningitis, septicemia, osteomyelitis, endocarditis and even fatalities. A staph infection that affects the skin is known as cellulitis and it involves the skin in its deepest level.
A staph infection is caused by the staphylococcus aureus (staph or s. aureus) bacteria. It is actually perpetually present in noses, mouths, genitals, anuses and feet of approximately 25 percent of healthy people who are not affected by them. However, when a small cut or some other type of wound occurs and becomes infected and when the infection reaches the bloodstream, it can then easily spread to other internal organs such as the liver, the lungs, the urinary tract, the intestines and the heart which can lead to very serious consequences.
A staph infection can range from a mere pimple or a boil, a furuncle, a carbuncles or impetigo to a full blown staph infection. The severity of the infection greatly depends on the person’s immune systems, the depth of the cut or wound, the speed with which the infection spreads and its reaction to antibiotic treatments.
The staph bacteria can easily infiltrate the human or animal body through the productions of toxins such as occurring in inadequately stored foods which are then ingested (food poisoning) or by direct invasion such as human to human contact and through the use of tampons which have been known to cause the toxic shock syndrome.
The most frequently reported symptoms of a staph infection are small bright red pimples, boils or bumps resembling spider bites in the infection’s beginning stages. The ensuing stages in the progression of an infection tend to develop quite rapidly as the condition may evolves into painful skin abscesses that often require surgical drainage.
When a staph infection spreads into internal organ its symptoms of discomfort and pain are related to the organ that is affected.
The resistance characteristic of staph infections is attributed to the fact that the staph bacteria have mutated and became hardy enough to escape antibiotic attacks which were overly used for decades, particularly in the Western world. The end result is that staph bacteria seem to be on a perpetual cycle of mutation which outsmarts and outmaneuvers pharmaceuticals. True for today:
- (a) Staph bacteria transform to resist antibiotics faster than science can introduce new strains of medications.
- (b) Medical professionals finally know better and they practice more discretion and a higher degree of caution when prescribing antibiotics.
- (c) Although staph infections are known for being resistant to treatments by a wide range of antibiotics, there are still effective medications that have the power to battle against them and those may includes such antibiotics as vancomycin.