What is Staphylococcus?
Also known as Staph, this is a well known bacteria found on most peoples skin. It often does not cause disease unless it enters the body which can then cause serious infections. There are more than 30 types of Staph bacteria which causes infections, but the most common is Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) which has a resistance to commonly used antibiotics.
How is it spread/ or who is at risk?
When the skin is compromised and not treated correctly, the bacteria will enter the body. It can also enter the body via the respiratory tract, contaminated food amongst other means.
People more commonly at risk of Staph Infections are:
- People with skin disorders or injuries
- Newborns and breastfeeding mothers
- People with weakened immune systems
- Care patients using catheters
- Patients who have surgical incisions
- Cancer patients
- Anyone injected drugs or medication
A symptom of this disease of the skin is pus filled abscesses also known as boils, skin may be red and tender around the infected area. Another is crusting of the skin (impetigo), or infection of the skin layers.
- Always cover skin infections with dry and clean bandages.
- If a wound is pussy, take precaution as it may contain MRSA and then spread to others. Should anyone change your bandages ensure that they have sanitised or washed their hands before touching you, as they may also infect your wound.
- Do not share personal items (towels, razors)
- Menstruating women who use tampons should frequently change their tampons (4 to 8 hours) and use a low absorbent tampon. This could avoid toxic shock syndrome where staph secretes life threatening toxins.
- Store food appropriately to avoid food poisoning.
- If you are infected do not handle food. The infection is contagious if in direct contact with the infected area.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water, or sanitise your hands before handling food to avoid contamination if you are unaffected..
Lunch-Box Buddy has been tested according to SANS 5261 to kill Staphylococcus Aureus in less than 1 minute (before it enters the body).
What infections and diseases can be caused Staph?
- This bacteria can cause many diseases and related illnesses which might require no treatment if the infection is mild. Immediate treatment is necessary for severe infections, as they are potentially fatal. The production of toxins by this bacteria can cause food poisoning, toxic shock syndrome, boils, cellulitis, MRSA (aka “superbug”), amongst others. These infections are treated with topical, oral, or intravenous antibiotics and sometimes a combination of all dependent on the severity of the infection.
- In breastfeeding women, staph can result in mastitis which is inflammation of the breast or in abscess of the breast.
- When it enters the bloodstream or organs, it is known as sepsis or bacteremia and can cause fatal infections.
- Staph can cause pneumonia, if an individual has an underlying lung disease it may result in abscesses forming in the lungs.
- It can cause infection of the heart valves, which may lead to heart failure.
- If Staph spreads to the bones it can cause inflammation. This in turn can lead to septic arthritis if it infects joints.
- Most frequently in hospitalised patients, Thrombophlebitis occurs when the bacteria infects a vein via a contaminated catheter.