Lake Dermatology


Staphylococcus (Staph aureus)

Staphylococcus (“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, or painful, or have pus or other drainage.

Some staph, known as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, are resistant to certain antibiotics, making such infections harder to treat. But there remain effective treatments for all types of staph, including MRSA infections like this one:

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 infections are minor and may be easily treated. Staph also may cause serious infections, such as infections of the bloodstream or at surgical sites, or pneumonia. Sometimes, a staph infection that starts as a skin infection may worsen. Contact your doctor if your infection does not get better.

How are Staph Infections Treated?

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

How Do I Keep Staph Infections from Spreading?

  • Wash your hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Keep your cuts and scrapes clean and cover them with bandages.
  • Do not touch other people’s cuts or bandages.
  • Do not share personal items like towels or razors.

Reference: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention