First Aid Handbook: Staph Infection

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Infections, unfortunately, come in all types, severities, and strains. One of the most commonly found infections is from the staphylococcus bacteria, which can be the cause of a staph infection. While these bacteria can be harmless, they can also cause major issues if left unchecked. Our team at Integrity Urgent Care can help identify staph infections and provide you with a treatment plan to keep it in check.

Symptoms

The symptoms vary widely depending on where the infection is occurring and how severe the infection has become. Staph infections are commonly seen as skin infections and can cause boils (a pocket of pus that is red and swollen), impetigo (a painful rash), or cellulitis (which causes redness and swelling of the skin). Staph can also be the cause of food poisoning, which will lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.

More serious symptoms occur when a staph infection enters the bloodstream causing bacteremia. An increase in temperature and decrease in blood pressure may be signs this infection is taking place in a patient’s body. This infection needs immediate care as it can, according to the Mayo Clinic, “produce infections affecting internal organs, such as your brain, heart, or lungs, bones and muscles, [and] surgically implanted devices, such as artificial joints or cardiac pacemakers.”

Treatment

After diagnosing with a physical exam and possibly collection of a sample of tissue, doctors will do a number of things to treat a staph infection. The first will be administering antibiotics, which type depending on the infection you have and its severity. If your staph infection is present on the skin, they may drain fluid that has collected. This draining should be done in a sterile environment with a medical professional and should not be done at home. If the infection is impacting or caused by a medical device, more serious treatment may take place.

Prevention

We cannot stress enough the importance of washing your hands frequently to prevent the spread of all infections and diseases, not just staph. This simple action can ward off the transmission of many communicable diseases. This is especially needed after using the restroom, before and after food preparation, and anytime you touch an animal or animal waste. If you are left in a bind without soap, water, or facilities to wash your hands, an alcohol-based sanitizer can be substituted, but won’t help remove dirt. Other methods of prevention are to keep wounds covered and cleaned, to keep personal items like razors, athletic equipment, and towels to yourself, and to regularly clean sheets, bedding, towels, and any items used in food preparation.

When to See a Doctor

While some staph infections, like a minor bout with food poisoning, may pass without the need to see a medical professional, even a skin infection needs the help of our Integrity Urgent Care team. If you have blisters or an area of red-irritated skin, we need to check the severity of the infection. Additionally, if you have a fever, we will want to monitor you and your other symptoms. If multiple members of your family are showing similar symptoms, they should come in as well.

If you suspect you have a staph infection, come to one of our clinics to begin treatment and to feel relief from what is probably a painful issue. Our medical team can accept walk-ins and have you in and out in a timely manner, allowing you to return to your normal life. If you have questions about insurance or payment, contact us today.

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