Staphylococcus bacteria is a type of bacteria that causes staph infections. Staph infections can appear in many different forms and varying degrees of severity. Most of the time, this bacteria causes very minor skin infections or no problems at all. However, staph infections can easily turn deadly if the bacteria enter your bloodstream, bones, joints, lungs, or heart.
Staph Infection Causes
Staph infections are caused by the staphylococcus bacteria, but many people carry this bacterium without ever developing a staph infection. However, these bacteria are easily transmittable from person to person because they are able to survive extreme heat, drying, high levels of salt, and they can live on objects such as towels and pillowcases.
Staph Infection Risk Factors
Though it is unclear what exactly causes an infection to develop in some people and not in others, there are certain factors that are known to increase your risk for developing staph infection. These include:
- Underlying health conditions: There are certain disorders that will make you more susceptible to staph infections. This includes diabetes with insulin dependence, weakened immune system, skin damage, cancer (especially when undergoing chemotherapy or radiation), HIV/AIDS, respiratory illness, and kidney failure.
- Hospitalization: Because they are so hard to kill, staph bacteria are very commonly found within most hospitals. If you are currently in the hospital or were recently hospitalized, you will be at a higher risk for developing staph. This is especially true if you were hospitalized because of a weakened immune system, burns, or had surgery that leaves open wounds.
- Contact sports: Sports that require skin to skin contact allow staph to spread easily through cuts and abrasions. Also, it is common for staph to be spread within a locker room environment by sharing towels, uniforms, razors, and equipment.
- Unsanitary food preparation: Foods that are contaminated with staph will look and taste normal. However, if the food handlers were carriers of staph and didn’t properly wash their hands, they can easily transfer the staph from their skin to the food they are preparing.
- Invasive devices: If you have any devices that connect the outside world with your internal organs, it is very easy for staph to travel along medical tubing and develop into an infection. This would include patients who receive dialysis, have urinary or intravascular catheters, use feeding tubes, or require breathing intubation. If staph develops as a result of one of these devices, it will need to be removed as soon as possible.
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