Staph Infection Treatment in Asheville, NC
Have you developed a skin rash with foodborne illness? Maybe noticed an infection after a hospital visit or surgery? A staph infection may be to blame.
Staph is a kind of nosocomial infection, which is usually contracted through person-to-person contact or from contaminated food. Staph infections can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including skin lesions, pneumonia, and toxic shock syndrome.
While staph is resistant to some types of antibiotics, your healthcare provider can help eliminate your infection and prevent complications. To speak with a staph infection specialist today in Asheville, call (423) 482-8711 or contact Dr. Dalal Akoury online.
What Are the Symptoms of Staph Infection?
Most people carry staph bacteria but show no symptoms. Staph infections can cause a vast array of symptoms though, depending on where your infection occurs. Most commonly, staph infects your skin, internal organs, digestive or urinary tract, and joints.
Staph can cause mild or severe skin reactions, which include:
- boils: a pocket of pus develops in a hair follicle or oil gland under your arms or near your groin, making the surrounding skin red and swollen
- impetigo: a painful, contagious rash with large blisters that ooze fluid and develop a yellow crust
- cellulitis: an infection of your deep skin layers, causing redness and swelling on your skin and ulcers that ooze fluid
- staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome: affecting mostly babies and children, it causes fever, skin rash, and blisters; when the blisters rupture, the top layer comes off and reveals a raw red surface that looks like a burn
Staph bacteria are among the most common causes, also known as food poisoning. After you eat staph-contaminated food, these symptoms typically appear within an hour or two and disappear within half a day:
- nausea and vomiting
- low blood pressure
This type of infection typically doesn’t cause fever; if you do have a fever with foodborne illness, it’s likely not a staph infection.
Toxic Shock Syndrome and Septic Arthritis
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a severe, life-threatening illness caused by some strains of staph bacteria. It’s generally associated with tampon use, skin wounds, and surgery. Symptoms include:
- high fever
- nausea and vomiting
- rash on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet that looks like sunburn
- muscle pain
- diarrhea abdominal pains
If you suspect you have toxic shock syndrome, seek emergency care right away. TSS can be potentially fatal if left untreated.
When staph targets your knees, shoulders, hips, fingers, or toes, it can result in septic arthritis. These symptoms include joint swelling, severe pain in the infected joint, and fever.
What Causes Staph Infections?
Staph bacteria are extremely resilient, able to survive on surfaces long enough to infect whoever touches them.1 If you develop a staph infection, it’s likely you’ve been carrying the bacteria for quite some time. Certain health conditions, using invasive devices, playing contact sports, and unsanitary food handling can make you more likely to contract staph infections.
These conditions can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to staph infections:
- kidney failure (with dialysis)
- cancer, especially when undergoing chemotherapy or radiation
- skin damage
- respiratory illnesses like cystic fibrosis or emphysema
- medications that suppress your immune system
Hospital patients with weak immune systems, burns, or surgical wounds are especially vulnerable to staph infections.
Patients who use medical devices that penetrate their bodies are at a greater risk for contracting staph infections. These devices include:
- dialysis tubing
- urinary catheters
- feeding tubes
- breathing tubes
- intravascular catheters
Contact Sports and Unhygienic Food Handling
Athletes participating in contact sports like wrestling, football, basketball, soccer, and baseball are more likely to contract staph infections through skin-to-skin contact, skin wounds, and saliva. Staph bacteria can also be transferred in locker rooms through shared razors, showers, towels, or equipment.
Food workers who don’t practice safe, sanitary food preparation practices can also easily transfer staph infection from their hands to the food they touch, resulting in staph foodborne illness.
How are Staph Infections Diagnosed and Treated?
Staph diagnosis is typically fast, painless, and easy. Your healthcare provider will exam you, and if a staph infection is suspected, a tissue or nasal secretion sample will be taken.
While most bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics, increasing antibiotic resistance is making treating staph a little more difficult. Certain antibiotics are still effective in treating staph, but your physician may need to use methods like intravenous antibiotics.
For instance, vancomycin can be effective but must be given through an IV. Antibiotics like vancomycin can have serious side effects
Your healthcare provider may drain any skin wounds to promote healing and prevent further infection. If your infection involves a device or prosthetic, you should remove it—surgically, if necessary. In hospitals, staph infections can be controlled by measuring and comparing the infection rates within the hospital and sticking to the best healthcare practices.1
As with any medical procedure, results of treatment will vary from patient to patient, depending on age, genetics, environmental conditions, and other health factors. Discuss this with your healthcare provider for more details.
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1. Khan, Hassan Ahmed, Aftab Ahmad, Riffat Mehboob. “Nosocomial infections and their control strategies.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine 5.7 (2015): 509-514. Web. 5 June 2018.
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