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Staph is a type of bacteria. It may cause skin infections that look like pimples or boils. Skin infections caused by staph may be red, swollen, painful or have pus or other drainage. Some staph (known as Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus or MRSA) are resistant to certain antibiotics, making it harder to treat.


Who gets Staph Infections?

Anyone can get a staph infection. People are more likely to get a staph infection if they have:

  • Skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a staph infection
  • contact with items and surfaces that have staph on them
  • openings in their skin such as cuts or scrapes
  • crowded living conditions
  • poor hygiene


How Serious are Staph Infections?

Most staph skin infections are minor and may be easily treated. Staph also may cause more serious infections, such as infections of the bloodstream, surgical sties or pneumonia. Sometimes, a staph infection that starts as a skin infection may worsen. It is important to contact your doctor if your infection doesn't get better.


How are Staph Infections Treated?

Treatment for a staph skin infection may include taking an antibiotic or having a doctor drain the infection. If you are given an antibiotic, be sure to take all of the doses, even if the infection is getting better, unless your doctor tells you to stop taking it. Do not share antibiotics with other people or save them to use later.


How Can I Prevent Staph or MRSA Skin Infections?

Practice good hygiene:

  • Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed
  • Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors


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