Golden staph is nothing but MRSA which is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. Golden staph infection is a common type of infection which can affect various body parts, which is mostly skin.
So, what is exactly golden staph and why is it called so? MRSA or Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus also simply referred as Staphylococcus aureus or staph is a strain of bacteria that is resistant to methicillin. Staph appears in a grape like clusters, as seen from a microscope. It has large round and golden yellow colored colonies. This golden color of the bacteria gives it the name aureus which mean golden in Latin. The color of this bacteria is golden because a carotenoid pigment staphyloxanthin.
There are many bacteria which live on our skin. Most of these are not harmful. Even golden staph which is staphylococcus bacteria is not harmful till it finds an open cut, wound or lesion on the body. However, once it finds an entry point in the body it will spread and cause infection. Mostly golden staph is found in hospital environment.
Golden staph can infect skin, inside of the nose, urine, or blood. It mostly tends to affect the skin area. So, on the skin it will produce a small red bump, which is mostly seen on the leg or arm. It can also give a red bump inside the eyelid. Red small bumps or lots of bumps can be an indication of golden staph infection. A person can also get fever and boils with pus. This specially occurs in areas like underarms and inside of the nose. If infection spreads to other areas it can cause drop in blood pressure, fatigue and joint pain. Serious complications from infection can also lead to blood poisoning or lung infection.
The diagnosis of golden staph infection is generally done by a simple physical exam. However, the doctor might sometimes ask you to take a wound swab test. If the doctor suspects you have MRSA infection, you will be prescribed a topical antibiotic. Mostly an ointment is given in case of minor infections. However, if the infection is severe or is not getting better, then oral antibiotics are also prescribed. It is important to finish the full course of oral antibiotics even if you see no visible symptoms of the infection. This is because it is important to kill the bacteria completely, so the condition is not contagious anymore. If you have an infection which is not getting better even with all the medication and ointments then the doctor will ask you to use medicated honey to inhibit growth of bacteria. Also, in severe cases of large boils surgical drainage will be performed.
The best prevention for golden staph is to keep washing your hands. As golden staph is contagious you can come in contact with a person carrying golden staph and thus get it. Also, if there is golden staph on your hands and you touch or scratch and open wound or cut then it can enter the body and spread infection. So, once you have come from outside, wash your hands with soap and water. If you have a cut or wound then take care of it and avoid touching it with your hands. In case you get wound or cut keep it clean by washing it with soapy water and then wipe it with a gauze. Also, if you suspect somebody having MSRA infection then avoid sharing personal items with them like towels, napkins, t-shirts, etc.
So, take care of yourself and practice good hygiene. Also, use clean equipment and keep washing your hands regularly and you will reduce the risk of getting the infection to a great extent.