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What causes staph infections?

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Quick Answer

Staph infections are caused by a bacteria known as Staphylococcus, according to WebMD. The bacteria is easily picked up by the feet, often when a small cut is infected with Staphylococcus. It can be spread easily in locker rooms or other similar common areas.

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Staph infections can have a range of severity, from a small boil to a flesh-eating condition, depending on the strength, depth, the rate of infection and the infection's reaction to antibiotics. The symptoms of staph infections vary depending on the type. Cellulitis is one very common type of staph infection that affects the deep layers of the skin. Symptoms of cellulitis begin with a small open sore, or redness, tenderness and swelling in a small area. Later, fever sometimes develops, along with sweats and chills. Impetigo is another form of staph infection that affects the skin and creates a contagious, painful rash. Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome is a type of staph infection that affects small children and infants. Its symptoms include fever, blisters and rashes.

Staph infections are generally treated with antibiotics. Penicillin used to be the antibiotic of choice, but since many staph infections have become more and more resistant due to antibiotic overuse, increasingly stronger antibiotics are being employed.

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