Staph is short for Staphylococcus, a type of bacteria. There are over 30 types, but Staphylococcus aureus causes most staph infections (pronounced "staff infections"), including
- Skin infections
- Food poisoning
- Toxic shock syndrome
- Blood poisoning (bacteremia)
Skin infections are the most common. They can look like pimples or boils. They may be red, swollen and painful, and sometimes have pus or other drainage. They can turn into impetigo, which turns into a crust on the skin, or cellulitis, a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot.
Anyone can get a staph skin infection. You are more likely to get one if you have a cut or scratch, or have contact with a person or surface that has staph bacteria. The best way to prevent staph is to keep hands and wounds clean. Most staph skin infections are easily treated with antibiotics or by draining the infection. Some staph bacteria such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) are resistant to certain antibiotics, making infections harder to treat.
- Boils and Carbuncles (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Toxic Shock Syndrome (American Academy of Family Physicians)
- Toxic Shock Syndrome (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- VISA/VRSA (Vancomycin-Intermediate/Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in Healthcare Settings (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Furunculosis (Boil, Furuncle) (Logical Images)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Staphylococcal Infections (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Impact of Environmental Cues on Staphylococcal Quorum Sensing and Biofilm...
- Article: Feasibility and patient satisfaction with smoking cessation interventions for prevention...
- Article: Treatment for chronic methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus pulmonary infection in people...
- Staphylococcal Infections -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Boils (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Carbuncle (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Scalded skin syndrome (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Staph infections -- self-care at home (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Toxic shock syndrome (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Tracheitis (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish