Staphylococcus, also referred to as staph is a type of bacteria that lives on the skin around the mouth, genitals, nostrils and the anus. There are approximately 30 species of bacteria in the staph family and each of them cause different kinds of staph infection. Normally these microorganisms do not cause any harm unless they enter the body through any wound. The infections caused by these bacteria may be minor like skin infections and pimples or severe which may involve the lungs, heart, bone and even blood. One such serious infection that is caused by Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is staph blood infection. Staph infection in blood is especially seen in individuals who have a weak immune system, who are on kidney dialysis and those who are undergoing long term health care.
Many of us may be thinking if staph infection is contagious. This blood infection can sometimes be contagious and also become life-threatening if it is not brought to the doctor's notice immediately. In case the individual is affected, he must practice necessary precautionary measures to prevent this disorder from spreading. Blood infections, accompanied by pneumonia can result in high death rates. Let's take a look at the symptoms and treatment methods of staph infection in blood.
Staph Blood Infection Symptoms
Though staph infection is mostly seen in individuals who have been hospitalized for a long time or who suffer from chronic illnesses, this life-threatening infection can also be seen in healthy individuals. The symptoms of this chronic condition vary according to the location and severity of the infection. Given below are some of the symptoms of this blood infection, categorized according to the condition.
- Food Poisoning: This may last for about two days depending on the severity of the condition. The symptoms include vomiting induced nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
- Blood Poisoning: Blood poisoning, which is also known as bacteremia, is caused when the bacteria enters the bloodstream of the individual. This condition is characterized by a persistent high fever.
- Septic Arthritis: In septic arthritis, the main target of these bacteria in the blood is the body joints. The symptoms may include extreme pain in the joint, swelling in the joints, unable to move the joints without triggering pain.
- Toxic Shock Syndrome: This condition is life-threatening and usually does not give any signs of development. Seizures, high fever, muscle aches, persistent headache, etc. can be observed in the affected individual. Some individuals may also show symptoms like a skin rash which resembles a sunburn, nausea and vomiting.
- Other Symptoms: The severe form of staph infection also has other symptoms, namely, fatigue, unable to breathe properly, chest pain and malaise.
Treating Staph Blood Infection
If this condition does not receive prompt medical attention, it may lead to complications like sepsis (or infection in the blood) and septic shock, which is a result of extremely low blood pressure. Since the blood is infected, it may also result in multiple organ failure, which can prove fatal, if the infection is left untreated. It is essential to visit a doctor who may tell the patient to undergo certain tests to confirm the presence of the infection in the body. The tests may include urine tests, blood culture, sputum culture and skin culture. In some cases, the fluid from the infected region and nasal secretions may also be tested. Antibiotics may be prescribed to fight against infections. In case of severe infection, the patient may require hospitalization and intravenous drugs. The patient may be put on oxygen and dialysis, if the kidneys fail.
This is a life-threatening condition, so you must take necessary precaution to avoid any bacterial infection. If you doubt that you may have contracted staph blood infection, then consult a general practitioner who may treat you for this condition before it becomes severe.