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Staphylococcus (cont.)

Staph Infection Prevention

Humans are colonized frequently in sebaceous (sweat) glands, nose, and other skin areas by staph, so it is almost impossible to prevent contact with the bacteria. Most staph bacteria are transmitted by person-to-person contact, but viable staph on surfaces of clothing, sinks, and other objects can contact skin and cause infections. As long as a person is shedding staph, the organisms are contagious. However, reducing risk factors such as skin scratches, abrasions, or puncture wounds -- or if they occur, immediately cleaning and treating them -- helps prevent infections.

Good hygiene, especially hand washing, prevents many infections. Individuals who live in crowded or unsanitary conditions, play contact sports, or share towels or clothing have higher risk of staph infections. Individuals who work in hospitals can reduce their infection risk by wearing protective garments (for example, masks, gloves, and gowns). Any conditions that reduce a person's immune response present a higher risk for infection. Hospitalized people have a high risk of infection because of skin penetration by such things as intravenous lines, surgical incision sites, and implanted devices. Keeping penetrated skin sites clean and protected (covered with sterile dressings) helps prevent infections.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/11/2014

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