5 Common Treatments for Staph Infection and Prevention Tips

Staphylococcus bacteria cause staph infections. These bacteria are commonly present on the skin and in the nose of healthy individuals. Majority of times, they cause no illness or lead to minor skin infections. However, staph infections may become life-threatening if the bacteria enter your bloodstream, bones, joints, heart or lungs. A large number of healthy individuals are developing deadly staph infections. What is the treatment of staph infection?

What Is Staph Infection Treatment?

1. Antibiotics

Many types of antibiotics are available that work to treat staph infections. The location, type and severity of staph infection will help your physician determine which of these antibiotics is best for your infection.

How Can You Decide on the Best Antibiotic?

One way to ensure that you decide on the best antibiotic drug is by undergoing antibiotic sensitivity test, also referred to as susceptibility test.

Getting a susceptibility test becomes more important if you are having recurrent staph infections or if they are not responding to treatments. Staph may progress to MRSA infection that shows no response to commonly available antibiotics.

Mild or Severe Staph Infection: What Should You Expect?

Antibiotic drugs for staph infection may be taken topically, orally or intravenously (IV), on the basis of the kind of antibiotic used. IV antibiotics may be given for 6 weeks or even more on the basis of the type of infection. IV antibiotics can be given for the treatment of Staph infections occurring around eyes or other facial areas. Life-threatening and serious infections such as MRSA may need IV antibiotics, for instance Vancomycin.

In case the antibiotic prescribed is correct, relief in infection may occur very fast. Make sure that you take the prescribed antibiotics on schedule and for the correct number of days even if you start feeling better. You should be aware of the fact that incorrect diagnosis and not using antibiotics properly is common with infections such as Staph.

Risks and Side Effects of Antibiotics

There are multiple side effects associated with the use of antibiotics, which your physician may not discuss with you. Some of these side effects include symptoms like hives, diarrhea, stomach upset, yeast infection, vomiting, nausea, rashes, low levels of white blood cells, etc. You should consult your doctor in case you are breast feeding or pregnant. Many persons are not able to take antibiotics due to the severe adverse effects.

Pregnant females should consider alternative drugs in place of antibiotic drugs because they may cause adverse effects in the developing child.

Antibiotics for staph infection treatment should not be used too often in children as overuse can cause many chronic health problems. Antibiotics kill many good bacteria residing in the intestines, thereby, disrupting the natural balance of bacteria in your body. Antibiotics also cause weakening of the immune system of the body, thereby, making your child prone to get another infection later.

2. Warm Compresses

They are used often to bring an abscess or a boil to a head so that they drain on their own. Wet a washcloth in hot water and put over the boil for several days. You can also use topical antimicrobials in association with warm compresses.

3. Incision and Drainage

Abscesses and boils are often lanced or incised by a physician and drained so as to decrease pain and reduce bacteria. During the procedure, the skin is treated using a topical antiseptic, and then it is punctured using a sterile instrument so that the pus can drain out. Incision and drainage should be done by a physician as there is high risk involved of spreading the MRSA infection to the blood stream or to other body parts or to other individuals.

4. Topical Antimicrobial Ointments and Creams

Topical ointments and creams containing antimicrobial compounds are used often to treat Staph and MRSA infections on the skin. These compounds either prevent the bacteria from growing or kill them. Some of the common topical antimicrobials include Chlorhexidine (Hibiclens) and Iodine. Topical antimicrobials may also contain antibiotics such as mupirocin (Bactroban). These products are sprayed or spread on the skin for staph infection treatment.

Adverse effects: You should not use Bactroban in case you are breastfeeding. Chlorhexidine is a type of synthetic antimicrobial that may produce skin sensitivity in some individuals. Over time, MRSA may develop resistance to chlorhexidine. Topical antimicrobials may produce imbalance in the normal skin flora, thereby, making you prone to re-infection. They are also harsh to the skin, causing cracked and dry skin, making it prone to infection with Staph or MRSA. Use of topical antimicrobials may also cause fungal overgrowth in your body.

5. Antimicrobial Baths

Your doctor may prescribe bathing in water that contains an antimicrobial agent for a skin infection. Bath additives that are commonly prescribed include bleach (Clorox) and chlorhexidine (Hibiclens). Bathing with bleach water is less effective in killing MRSA in comparison to normal Staph bacteria.

Adverse effects: Bleach is harsh and can make your skin sensitive particular when used repeatedly. In case you are breastfeeding or pregnant, you should not use Hibiclens. The surface area of the skin is very large and bath additives are readily absorbed in the body. Hence, the effects these chemicals may have on the immune system of the body should be a consideration. Moreover, your skin may become sensitive,   cracked and dry due to using these harsh chemicals. It is much easier for bacteria to penetrate dry and cracked skin.

How to Prevent Staph Infection

After discussing Staph infection treatment, let’s discuss its prevention. The following are the precautions that you should take to reduce your risk:

  • Wash your hands: Wash your hands for at least 20-25 seconds. Use a disposable towel to make them dry. You should use another towel for turning the faucet off.
  • Keep your wounds covered: Keep abrasions and cuts covered with dry, sterile bandages till they heal. This will help in preventing the Staph bacteria from infected sores from spreading.
  • Reduce risks due to tampon: Staph bacteria may cause toxic shock syndrome. You should change your tampons at least every 4-8 hours as tampons left for longer than that can breed Staph bacteria.
  • Avoid sharing of personal items: Do not share personal items including towels, razors, sheets, athletic equipments and clothing.
  • Wash bedding and clothing in hot water: Bedding and clothing that is not washed properly can become a breeding ground for Staph bacteria. To avoid that, wash them in hot water.
  • Take precautions associated with food safety: Before handling any food, wash your hands properly. Leftovers should be refrigerated as early as possible. If you have to keep the food out for some time, ensure that hot food should stay above 140 degree F and cold food should stay at 40 degree F.
 
 
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