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How Long is Staph Infection Contagious

Staph infection is caused by bacteria named 'Staphylococcus aureus'. This is a highly contagious infection. Know how long it lasts, in this article.
Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Staphylococcus bacteria reside in the noses and mouths of about 30% people. Usually, this bacteria is pretty harmless and does not bring about any illness. However, a particular species of this bacteria named Staphylococcus aureus is capable of causing serious infection in humans. The bacteria makes its way inside the skin through open cuts and wounds. This infection is highly contagious and spreads from infected person to a healthy person through physical contact. The drain or fluid through the abscess causes infection in a healthy person. Moreover, this infection can be transmitted from humans to animals and vice-a-verse.
How Long is Staph Infection Contagious
Staph infection starts as a small puncture on the skin. It looks like a swollen skin pore which then develops into a blister or furuncle. The blister or a boil gets filled with pus which serves as a medium for transmission of infection. A common staph infection cellulitis, which affects humans, appears bright red and is painful. The fluid from abscess can be transferred to a healthy person by sharing of clothes, linen and other items.
Staph infection may not be diagnosed for a very long time. This increases the possibility of transmission of infection to others. If the person approaches a doctor, then the first course of treatment is to identify the type of staph infection. Common staph infection can be eliminated by taking antibiotics. However, if the diagnosed type is Staphylococcus aureus, then your doctor may prescribe stronger antibiotics. Staph infection symptoms such as boils, pain may subside soon after initiating treatment. This infection is often referred to as flesh eating infection. Hence, if the infection takes on a severe form, or is left untreated, then it may penetrate deeper into the skin and affect muscles and fibers in the process. In that case, surgery is the only option to clear this infection.
Staph infection is contagious for as long as it is left untreated. If the person shows active symptoms of the infection, then it is best to stay away from him as he is capable of infecting others. However, once the treatment is initiated, the contagiousness begins to diminish. Generally, it is believed that a person is no longer contagious after 24 hours of initiating staph infection treatment. However, it is still best to take all the necessary precautions while dealing with the infected person.
Staph Infection Prevention
Staph infection is more common in some people than others. People with weak immune systems, children, infants, breastfeeding women etc. are more vulnerable to this infection. Children especially can catch the infection quickly due to weak immune system and ignorance regarding hygiene. Similarly, people suffering from diseases such as cancer, AIDS can catch the infection very easily. Those with an elevated risk of contracting staph infection must take due care and caution to protect themselves from this infection.
Maintaining excellent level of hygiene is by far the most effective method of keeping this infection at bay. Wash your hands as many times as possible. Do not touch your face or other body parts with infected hands. Avoid coming in physical contact of an infected person as far as possible. If you must, wash your hands thoroughly with a disinfectant soap. Children must be taught about hygiene measures so as to protect them from infection.
Thus, staph infection can turn into a serious trouble if you do not treat it on time. Early diagnosis is a must to prevent further spread of infection. Hence, if you suspect an infection to an open cut or wound, then contact your medical practitioner as soon as possible.