Staph is the short form of staphylococcus. These bacteria can live without harm on the skin surface for long. This is known as colonization; the bacteria do not have any signs. A staph infection starts with entry of the staph bacteria into the skin, like through a cut. It mainly affects the skin, nose, anal area and the mouth, where it enters the skin through scratches, pimples or even skin cysts. The bacteria are picked from the environment, like the floor by the feet. People that more prone to this infection in hospitals than any other place. This is because of the many germs that are in hospitals as well as several types of drugs. The infections not only affect those working and visiting hospitals but patients as well.
Patients admitted in hospitals get the staph infections through surgical wounds and sleeping sores. This is because these remain exposed inevitably in the hospital environment. The infections also get into the patients through the tubes used during their treatment like the urinary catheters and chest tubes (Tilden, 2008). This makes it clear therefore that the bacteria can affect any body part. In the hospital, the germ is spread amongst people through touching, where those infected touch those that are not and the nurses touch those infected and later touch those that are not.
Staph infections on and in the skin are mainly symbolized by redness and swelling. It may also cause the skin to get crusty. When advanced, there is normally pain in the infected areas. This is mainly associated with cellulites (Krizner, 1969). This is infection of deep layers of the skin with the bacteria. If untreated for long, the patient experiences fever, chills and sweats and flesh getting eaten up. These signs however resemble those of any other skin infection. To ascertain the presence of the staph bacteria, a culture is done on the patient. This is a test that involves the doctor using a cotton swab to take a sample from an open wound, rash or sore. The sample is then taken to the laboratory for testing. The sample can also be taken from blood.
Staph infection is mainly treated using antibiotics. Penicillin is mainly used for this. There have been changes in the strength if the drug since the 1980’s where stronger ones are now used as the infection was getting resistant to treatment. Sometimes the infection may have advanced to fibers that enclose muscles and muscles themselves. In this case, it is treated through surgical cleaning. It has been noted that patients that are treated using antibiotics have their infections developing resistance against the antibiotics (Honeyman, Friedman, & Bendinelli, 2002). There is therefore increasing usage of new antibiotics.
Prevention and statistics:
Staph infections can be prevented hygienically. This involves cleaning wound with clean water and soap and keeping them covered till they dry up. People that clean and dry weeping wounds should not share the towels that they use on the wounds. People should also wear shoes or socks to cover their feet. Health workers should ensure that they clean their hands after touching every patient and wear gloves when handling them, which they should dispose after finishing with every patient. They should always use proper sterile techniques and clean wounds in their patients properly. They should also be the first to detect the infections and diagnose treatment as well as educate the patients. I have not had a personal experience myself but the statistics of the infection are alarming; 25% of people in every hospital have the infection, with North America leading with over 40% due to high usage of antibiotics in hospitals. Deaths have been reported at 2% of those infected (Tilden, 2008).
Honeyman, A. L., Friedman, H., & Bendinelli, M. (2002). Staphylococcus aureus Infection and Disease. Boston, MA: Springer US.
Krizner, F. (1969). Hospital staph infections. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Institute of Legal Medicine.
Tilden, T. E. L. (2008). Help! What’s eating my flesh?: Runaway staph and strep infections!. New York, NY: Franklin Watts.