What's Going Around: staph infections

Dr. Tim Haman, CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital infectious disease physician, says he is seeing...
Dr. Tim Haman, CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital infectious disease physician, says he is seeing staph infections every day in the hospital and clinic setting. (Source: KPLC)
Updated: Jun. 15, 2017 at 6:37 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - One of the most common germs found on people's skin and in their noses is creeping into the body and causing infections.  CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital infectious disease physician, Dr. Tim Haman, says staph infections are what's going around this week.

"Every day," said Dr. Haman, "We've got three right now that I'm seeing here in the hospital and then every day that I'm in clinic I see one or two."

Anyone can develop a staph infection, when this bacteria gets into the body.  It is spread through direct contact.

"Staph is the shortened or common name for a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus," said Dr. Haman.  "It's a very common bacteria found on the skin and in the nasal cavity of most people."

Dr. Haman says the bacteria can get into the body through a scrape, puncture, or in-grown hair.

"Usually if you see just a pimple-type lesion, then that's something you can just watch," he said.  "Usually once it drains, it will just go away on its own."

If you notice redness, spreading, hardness at the site or fever, Dr. Haman says you need to get medical attention and antibiotics.    

"There are multiple options, both oral and IV, for almost any type of Staphylococcus infection you might have," said Dr. Haman.

MRSA, a sub-class of staph, is a concern if the infection is not healing. 

Dr. Haman says while MRSA is harder to treat because of antibiotic resistance, there are still options, and MRSA rates are actually trending downward today.

People at the greatest risk for staph infections are those with burns, skin conditions, liver or kidney disease, pregnant women, or people on chemotherapy.

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