The dangers of staph infection has been highlighted in the United States with the recent outbreak in schools nationwide.

Staph infection doesn't receive the attention other diseases and conditions usually get and in this article, we'll highlight what it is and what you you should do to prevent it from affecting you.

What Is Staph Infection?

Staph is the common term but it's medical term is Staphylococcus. It is bacteria which commonly lives on the skin and is harmless in this environment. It's when the skin is broken and the infection enters it that it can cause problems.

Staph contains over thirty different types of bacteria and is responsible for a number of illnesses with most non life threatening. Conditions such as skin disease or impetigo which is most common in children and is characterized by pussy formations on the skin and yellow crusts are as a result of staph infection.

However, as has been evidenced lately, the more aggressive type of infection can lead to serious illness and even death. Some of the more threatening conditions include toxic shock syndrome and food poisoning.

The MRSA strain which has caused the recent problems is particularly virulent and drug resistant.

Can You Prevent Staph Infection?

Most people who are in a healthy state won't have to worry about becoming seriously ill from staph during their lives. However, staph relies a lot on the complacency of people to become a problem and there are certain things you can do to keep it from having an impact on your health.

Here's a shortlist of preventative measures you can take to avoid staph infection:

- Treat cuts immediately. Staph bacteria is always present on the skin and if you ignore even the slightest cut on any part of your body then you are asking for trouble.

- Avoid over-using antibiotics. Strains such as MRSA are drug resistant and usually require hospitalization. Also, if you are prescribed antibiotics then make sure you complete the course in it's entirety.

- Practice good hygiene. Regular washing, particularly the hands will go a long way to keeping staph at bay.

- Avoid sharing items such as toiletries, towels and worn equipment such as for work and athletic purposes.

- Those who are more at risk of being receptive to infection need to treat early symptoms of staph as quickly as possible. A visit to your doctor is essential.

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