Staph Infections

Infections caused by the staphylococcus bacteria.

What to look for

  • Swollen areas around a cut.

  • boils or pus filled pimples around hair follicles.

  • swollen lymph nodes.

Usually infections remain in the one organ or area, but staph infections can produce disease in any part of your body. It can enter the bloodstream through a cut or another type of wound and travel to anywhere in the body. You may experience different symptoms as it depends on where the infection develops.

If an infection develops in the heart, lungs or the kidneys it can cause serious problems. People with a chronic illness, such as diabetes, cancer, or chronic liver or kidney disease, are particularly susceptible to severe staph infections.

These infections can develop in the hair follicles, where they can remain on the surface and look like small pimples or go deeper and become boils

Conjunctivitis is another type of staph infection, this causes the eyes to redden and to weep pus which forms a crust overnight during sleep.

Toxic shock syndrome is a staph infection and it occurs in women who leave tampons in too long. A staph infection can enter the breasts of nursing mothers resulting in painful breast abscesses.

Staph infections sometimes spread through the bloodstream to the bones and joints. The joint swells and fills with pus.

Causes

Staph infections are caused by Staphylococcus, a bacteria commonly found in the nose, mouth, rectum, or genital area. The bacteria are harmless until they enter the body. Once they are inside the body, the bacteria form pus-containing abscesses.

Traditional Treatment

With less severe conditions such as with boils, you may be able to treat yourself at home.

However, if the condition worsens, your doctor will probably give you an oral antibiotic. Other abscesses are too large to treat and must be lanced by a surgeon or doctor. Never do this yourself. You must be in completely sterile surroundings.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

See our Pharmacist who can advise you on the best course of action to treat your staph infection. As mentioned above, some abscesses must be lanced by a doctor.

Alternative treatment may be able to treat minor infections very well. This type of treatment will also focus on strengthening your immune system to prevent further outbreaks.

Herbal Therapies  - Several herbs have antibacterial properties that are believed to be helpful in fighting staph infections. They include: Several herbs have antibacterial properties that are believed to be helpful in fighting staph infections. They include:

  • Garlic (Allium sativum): Take three cloves a day at the first sign of infection; if garlic smell becomes a problem, try three garlic oil capsules instead or eat fresh parsley.

  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

  • Echinacea (Echinacea spp)

To help heal staph abscesses use cleavers (Galium aparine).

Aromatherapy  -  Try geranium, grapefruit or lemon in a warm compress or apply topically. See the Aromatherapy section for more details.Try geranium, grapefruit or lemon in a warm compress or apply topically. See the Aromatherapy section for more details.

Dietary considerations

Alter your diet to include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Drink plenty of filtered water. To further help your immune system fight the infection, take zinc supplements daily. In addition, supplements of vitamin C and bioflavonoids, may help fight the infection.

Personal Care

  • Apply heat on the boil or abscess to help it heal.

  • To help prevent scarring, add a few drops of thyme oil, lavender, or bergamot to the water in which the washcloth is soaked.

  • After the pus has drained, clean the area with warm water and lemon juice. Keep clean until completely healed. Do not ever lance a boil yourself. lance a

  • To prevent a staph infection from spreading while it heals, take showers rather than baths.

When to seek further professional advice

  • any pain, swelling, or pus forms around a cut or scraped area of skin; the infection may spread into the bloodstream.

  • the lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin become swollen; this can also be a symptom of a variety of other illnesses, including mononucleosis, tuberculosis, and cancer.

  • you have a boil that is very tender, particularly if it has red lines radiating from it, or if you have fever and chills; the infection may have spread.

  • you have a boil or carbuncle on or near your lip, nose, cheeks, forehead, or spine; the infection can spread into your brain or spine.

  • you have recurrent boils; they may be a sign of diabetes.