Staph infection as the name suggests, is caused by a group of bacteria known as staphylococcus. This group of bacteria can cause many types of diseases. It can cause boils, cellulitis, toxic shock syndrome, impetigo, food poisoning, and more. Staphylococcus is commonly found on the surfaces of our skin and inside our noses (even if we are healthy!). Some strains of staphylococcus are even considered to be a commensal, meaning that it exists on us without causing any harm or only resulting in minor skin infections.
However, if it invades deeper, it can potentially be life threatening as it enters the bloodstream, bones, lungs, or other organs. There is an increasing number of individuals who are suffering from life threatening staph infections. Some of the examples of staphylococcus strains are: staphylococcus aureus and staphylococcus epidermidis. The treatment and management of a staph infection usually includes antibiotics and if necessary, drainage of the infected area. Due to antibiotic resistance, there are some staph infections that do not respond to common antibiotics. Signs and symptoms of staph infection largely depends on the location and severity of the staph infection.
Symptom #1: Folliculitis
Folliculitis is a condition where the hair follicles (pockets where hair grows out of) in the skin become inflamed and infected. While it can be caused by any bacteria or fungal infection, it is also a symptom of a staph infection. At first glance, it may look like clusters of red bumps or white heads (white headed pimples). If looked at closely, you will notice that the bumps are from the hair follicles.
The infection causing folliculitis can easily spread and become crusty and slow healing sores. The area can also become itchy and sore. In severe infections, there may be permanent hair loss or scarring. If it starts to spread, you should seek medical attention as you may need prescription medication to prevent it from getting worse.