Staphylococcus is group of bacteria, familiarly known as Staph (pronounced “staff”), that can cause a multitude of diseases as a result of infection of various tissues of the body. Staph bacteria can cause illness not only directly by infection (such as in the skin), but also indirectly by producing toxins responsible for food poisoning and toxic shock syndrome. Staph-related illness can range from mild and requiring no treatment to severe and potentially fatal.
Staph infection is also the leading culprit behind cases of food poisoning, and can be to blame for larger life threatening conditions, such as Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), pneumonia, bone infections (osteomyelitis), mastitis in nursing mothers, endocarditis (infection of the inside of the heart), and bacteremia (blood infection). People who are otherwise healthy typically.
Staph infections can spread from person to person among those who live close together in group situations (such as in college dorms). Usually this happens when people with skin infections share things like bed linens, towels, or clothing. Warm, humid environments can contribute to staph infections, so excessive sweating can increase someone’s chances of developing an infection.
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Staph bacteria can spread through the air, on contaminated surfaces, and from person to person. Kids can carry staph bacteria from one area of their body to another ” or pass it to other people ” via dirty hands or fingernails. So good hand washing is vital to preventing staph infections.
Infections with MRSA are most common in hospitals and other institutional health-care settings, such as nursing homes, where they tend to strike older people, those who are very ill, and people with a weakened immune system. In health-care settings, MRSA is a frequent cause of surgical wound infections, urinary tract infections, bloodstream infections (sepsis), and pneumonia.
Most common infections – such as colds, bronchitis and sore throats – are caused by viruses. Antibiotics should not be used for these viral infections because they don’t help. In fact, they may cause side effects, and overuse of antibiotics contributes to the growing problem of bacterial resistance. Some viral infections such as herpes infection, some cases of influenza and HIV/AIDS can be treated with antiviral drugs. Based on your illness and symptoms, your doctor can determine if prescribing an antibiotic is appropriate. Your doctor will then select the antibiotic that will work best for your infection.
Staph bacteria are generally harmless unless they enter the body through a cut or other wound, and even then they often cause only minor skin problems in healthy people. But in older adults and people who are ill or have weakened immune systems, ordinary staph infections can cause serious illness.
Basic Handwashing techniques such as those developed by Professor G.A.J. Ayliffe, which has six steps are effective in preventing the transmission of Staphylococcus aureus. By the use of “standard precautions”, and where necessary “additional precautions”, the risk of transmission can be further reduced.
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