Staph bacteria do not cause discrete diseases; rather, they are germs that sometimes infect various parts of the body, according to Mayo Clinic. A staph infection in the bloodstream can lead to septic shock, a potentially fatal condition in which blood pressure drops radically. A staph infection of the skin is called cellulitis, which is especially common among people with diabetes and those with weakened immune systems, states WebMD.
These bacteria are commonly found in roughly a quarter of the population, who carry it with no adverse effects, explains WebMD. How deep the infection goes, how fast it spreads and how it responds to the use of antibiotics determine the severity of a staph infection. Some strains of staph bacteria display an increased resistance to antibiotics. Other skin conditions that develop after infection with staph bacteria include boils, impetigo and scalded skin syndrome, which strikes babies and young children.
Staph infections are treated by administering antibiotics, draining an infected wound and removing any implants or prosthetics at the site of an infection, according to Mayo Clinic. Depending on what type of staph bacteria is involved, doctors prescribe one of several antibiotics, but traditional medicines, such as penicillin, are not likely to be effective. Alternative antibiotics that are used more often, such as vancomycin, may cause more side effects, and some must be administered intravenously.