First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Health Library > Staph Infection
Staphylococcus aureus (staph) is a type of bacteria that can cause infections. Staph bacteria normally live on the skin. They don't usually cause problems. They only become a problem when they cause infection. In most cases, you can treat this infection with antibiotics.
For some people, especially those who are weak or ill, staph infections can become serious. Sometimes staph bacteria can cause a widespread infection in the body.
Staph bacteria can be spread by touching a person or object. It is often spread from the hands of someone who has a staph infection.
In the hospital, staph infections are more likely to occur in wounds, burns, or places where there is a break in the skin or where tubes enter the body. In the community, staph infections are more likely to occur among people who have cuts or wounds and who have close contact with one another.
Symptoms of a staph infection depend on where the infection is. If the infection is:
Staph infection is diagnosed based on a medical history and a physical exam. Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and your work and home environments.
The doctor will take a sample of your infected wound or a sample of blood, urine, or mucus (sputum) coughed up from the lungs. The sample is tested for staph bacteria. This test may take several days.
In some cases, imaging is done to look for signs of infection. For example, a chest X-ray can show a lung infection.
If you have a staph infection, your doctor may:
You may have to stay in the hospital for treatment. In the hospital, you may be kept apart from others. This is to reduce the chances of spreading the bacteria.
Current as ofJuly 30, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineElizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
Current as of:
July 30, 2018
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
UNC Medical Center
101 Manning Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
UNC Health Care Citrix
UNC Medical Center Intranet
Copyright 2019 UNC Health Care. All rights reserved.