What is a Staph Infection?
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria that many people carry on their skin and in their noses without getting sick. A staph infection is caused when this bacteria enters the body through punctured or broken skin. Staph infections can vary in severity from simple boils to antibiotic-resistant infections to flesh-eating infections.
How are Staph Infections spread?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20-35% of adults and children in the are "colonized" with staph aureus. This means that the bacteria are always present, but do not cause illness. Most infections occur through direct physical contact, when the staph bacteria enter a break in the skin (cut, scrape or insect bite). The bacterium is not carried through the air and is not found in dirt or mud. The main mode of transmission is by the hands. Therefore...........
HAND WASHING IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT BEHAVIOR IN PREVENTING INFECTIOUS DISEASE!!!!!
What are the symptoms of Staph Infections?
Staph aureus commonly causes skin infections that look like a pimple or boil and are often mistaken for insect or spider bites. They may be red, warm to touch, swollen, painful and/or have pus or other drainage.
How are Staph Infections treated?
These infections are usually easy to treat with inexpensive, well tolerated antibiotics. Some staph bacteria, however, such as methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA), have developed resistance: that is, the antibiotics can no longer kill the bacteria. Treatment for MRSA may be longer, more complicated, more expensive and the infection more likely to reappear. Staph bacteria may also cause more serious infections such as bloodstream infections and pneumonias. For this reason, all suspicious wounds or sores should be evaluated by your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
How can Staph Infections be prevented?
Please note the following recommendations for prevention and review with your family. If you have questions or would like more information, contact your school health office.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PREVENTING THE TRANSMISSION OF STAPH/MRSA INFECTION
Practice good hygiene. Keep hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water before eating, after coughing or sneezing, after going to the bathroom, and after contact with soiled surfaces. The use of an alcohol based hand sanitizer is also recommended when soap and water are no available.
- Any student with an open lesion or sore should be evaluated by a physician. Inform your physician of the possibility of MRSA.
- Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with proper dressings until healed. Schedule dressing changes to be done at home, to prevent the uncovering of the wound at school.
- Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages.
- Clothing and linens should not be shared.
- Shower daily using an antibacterial soap. Do not share towels, soap or other personal care items.
- Report all cases of infectious disease to the school health office.
How serious are Staff Infections?
Staph bacteria may cause more serious infections such as bloodstream infections and pneumonias. For this reason, all suspicious wounds or sores should be evaluated by your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Where can you get more information?
Your family doctor, your school Health Office and the local health department are excellent sources for information on all communicable diseases.
Parents of students with a communicable disease are asked to telephone the school health office so that other students who have been exposed to the disease can be alerted. Students with diseases are not allowed to come to school while they are contagious.