How Can You Recognize a Staph Infection on the Skin?

Staph cellulitis, a common staph skin infection, causes swelling, warmth, redness and pain, according to WebMD. Sometimes it develops within a skin ulcer or sore, but a break in the skin is not a required symptom. Red lines may radiate from the sore, which indicates a spreading infection that merits immediate medical attention. The site of the infection, which is normally on the legs or feet, may discharge fluid, notes Mayo Clinic. If the infection spreads, a fever could result.

Staph also can cause impetigo, which creates blisters that eventually erupt and dry into a yellowish or brown crust on the skin, explains MedicineNet. Boils caused by a staph infection look like red bumps and form around hair follicles, notes Healthline. They too can burst and discharge fluid.

Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome results from the toxins created by a staph infection, notes Mayo Clinic. It mainly affects children, who get a rash and fever. Sometimes blisters occur and later burst to reveal red skin that mimics a burn.

Doctors treat staph skin infections with antibiotics, according to MedicineNet. Some infections, like impetigo, readily respond to topical and oral antibiotics. However, half of all staph infections resist some antibiotics, so the doctor may prescribe stronger antibiotics or oral antibiotics to eliminate the infection properly, notes WebMD. Very deep infections may require surgical cleaning to heal.