So why am I writing about Staph? Because it’s way more common than you think and could be lurking at a gym or grocery store near you.
According to Mayoclinic.com staph is a bacteria that can affect all different areas of the body. It often presents itself as a skin infection in children and adults and can be called Impetigo, Cellulitis, or boils. It’s not pretty, is usually an oozing, red, swollen area of skin that is painful. Some infections, like impetigo, are highly contagious (hence why it is often seen in children).
You can develop a staph infection out of the blue from bacteria that you have probably been carrying around for a while. Some infections are contagious and are transferred from person to person through the skin to skin contact or on objects like door handles, towels, or gym equipment. Staph bacteria can even survive extreme temperatures and high levels of salt! MRSA (a type of staph) is even resistant to antibiotics and is becoming a major problem in long-term care facilities and hospitals.
As usual, prevention is your best defense. Hand washing, sanitizing objects that you touch such as a shopping cart or doorknobs. Also, wiping down gym equipment BEFORE you use it (I always like to think the person before I must have wiped it down, but after working in a gym for so long I should know better).
Preventing it from spreading in your home is also important. The infection is usually contagious for up to 24 hours after you start antibiotics. Wrap the area in breathable gauze to prevent it from contaminating objects and people in your home. Wash all the sheets, towels, and clothing the person may have came in contact with (I like to throw some bleach in there), and wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer before touching anything. It sounds a little extreme, but this isn’t something you want to mess with, especially with a baby in the house.
Also, staph is most likely to spread through contact with skin abrasions or skin conditions such as eczema. So if you have broken skin be extra careful and keep a close eye on it if you notice it starts to look exceptionally red or inflamed. If not treated staph can lead to endocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and septic shock.
Treatment often involves antibiotics, either in cream form, pills or both. Occasionally if it gets into your blood stream, it can require hospitalization and IV medication. Uncomplicated infections usually clear up in a couple days after you start antibiotics, and are no longer contagious in 12-24 hours. If it doesn’t clear up be sure to see your healthcare provider as it could be an antibiotic resistant bacteria like MRSA.
Now you know everything you never wanted to know about that pesky bacteria called staph and how to prevent it from spreading! All the more reason to have a trainer come to you so you can workout in the comfort of your own home!