St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Staph infections - hospital

    “Staph” is short for “staphylococcus.”It is pronounced like the word “staff.” Staph is a germ that can cause infections in any part of the body, but most of these are skin infections. Staph can infect openings in the skin, like scratches, and pimples or skin cysts. Anyone can get a staph infection.

    Hospital patients can get staph infections of the skin:

    • Any place where a catheter or tube enters their body. This includes chest tubes, urinary catheters, IVs, or central lines.
    • In surgical wounds, pressure sores (also called bed sores), or foot ulcers

    Once the staph germ enters the body, it can spread to bones, joints, the blood, or any organ, such as the lungs, heart, or brain.

    Staph can also spread easily from one person to another.

    Staph Infections in the Hospital

    Most staph germs are spread by skin-to-skin contact (touching). A doctor, nurse, other health care provider, or even visitors may have staph germs on their body and then spread them to a patient. This can happen when:

    • A person develops a staph infection at home and brings this germ to the hospital.
    • A doctor, nurse, other health care provider, or visitor touches a patient who has a staph infection.

    If the person then touches another patient without washing their hands first, the staph germs may spread.

    Also, a patient may have a small staph infection before coming to the hospital. This can occur without the patient even being aware of it.

    Staph infections less often occur when a patient directly touches clothing, sinks, and other objects.

    Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA) is a type (strain) of the staph germ that does not get better with the antibiotics that are commonly used to treat staph infections.

    How Do You Know if You Have a Staph Infection?

    Anytime an area of your skin appears red, swollen, or crusty, a staph infection may be the cause. The only way to know for sure is to do a culture.

    To do the culture, your health care provider may use a cotton swab to collect a sample from an open skin rash or skin sore. A sample may also be taken from a wound, blood, or sputum (spit). The sample is sent to the lab for testing.

    What Are the Risk Factors for a Staph Infection?

    Many healthy people normally have staph on their skin. Most of the time, it does not cause an infection or symptoms. This is called colonization. But if you are sick or in the hospital, your risk for developing a staph infection is higher. Some people who are colonized by staph go on to develop an infection due to staph that can make them sick.

    Common risk factors for developing a serious staph infection are:

    • Being in a hospital or other type of care facility for a long time
    • Having a weakened immune system
    • Injecting illegal drugs
    • Being on kidney dialysis

    Preventing Staph Infections in the Hospital

    The best way to prevent the spread of staph is for everyone to keep their hands clean. It is important to wash your hands properly.

    Patients and visitors should:

    • Wash their hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Wash and scrub their backs, palms, fingers, and between fingers thoroughly.
    • Dry with a clean paper towel.

    Alcohol-based gels may alsobe used if your hands do not look dirty.

    • These gells should be at least 60% alcohol.
    • Use enough gel to completely wet your hands.
    • Rub your hands until they are dry.

    Ask visitors to wash their hands before they come into your hospital room. They should also wash their hands when they leave your room.

    Health care workers and other hospital staff can prevent staph infection by:

    • Washing their hands before and after they touch every patient
    • Wearing gloves and other protective clothing when they treat wounds, IVs, and catheters, and when they handle body fluids
    • Always using the proper sterile technique
    • Promptly cleaning up after dressing (bandage) changes, procedures, surgeries, and spills
    • Always using sterile equipment and sterile technique when taking care of patients and equipment
    • Checking for and promptly reporting any sign of wound infections

    Many hospitals encourage patients to ask their health care providers if they have washed their hands. As a patient, you have the right to do this.

    References

    Fishman N, Calfee DP. Prevention and control of health care-associated infections.In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed.Philadelphia,PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 290.

    BACK TO TOP

          A Closer Look

            Talking to your MD

              Self Care

                Tests for Staph infections - hospital

                  Review Date: 2/26/2012

                  Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

                  The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
                  adam.com

                  A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


                  Back  |  Top
                  About Us
                  Contact Us
                  History
                  Mission
                  Locations & Directions
                  Quality Reports
                  Annual Reports
                  Honors & Awards
                  Community Health Needs
                  Assessment

                  Newsroom
                  Services
                  Brain & Spine
                  Cancer
                  Heart
                  Maternity
                  Orthopedics
                  Pulmonary
                  Sleep Medicine
                  Urgent Care
                  Women's Services
                  All Services
                  Patients & Visitors
                  Locations & Directions
                  Find a Physician
                  Tour St. Luke's
                  Patient & Visitor Information
                  Contact Us
                  Payment Options
                  Financial Assistance
                  Send a Card
                  Mammogram Appointments
                  Health Tools
                  My Personal Health
                  mystlukes
                  Spirit of Women
                  Health Information & Tools
                  Clinical Trials
                  Health Risk Assessments
                  Employer Programs -
                  Passport to Wellness

                  Classes & Events
                  Classes & Events
                  Spirit of Women
                  Donate & Volunteer
                  Giving Opportunities
                  Volunteer
                  Physicians & Employees
                  For Physicians
                  Remote Access
                  Medical Residency Information
                  Pharmacy Residency Information
                  Physician CPOE Training
                  Careers
                  Careers
                  St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
                  Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile