Treating Staph Infection on Legs

by Sam Malone


Staph or staphylococcus is a type of bacteria that usually live on the surface of the skin, especially around the areas of the mouth, nose, genital areas and anus. However, if the skin becomes broken or punctured, the bacteria can penetrate the wound thus leading to an infection. Some individuals are more prone to developing this condition. These include newborn babies, breastfeeding mothers and those affected by chronic conditions such lung disease, vascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Individuals who misuse drugs, those with skin disorders or injuries and those with weakened immunity are also at a higher risk of developing these infections.

The symptoms of staph infection include redness, swelling and pain. Fluid or pus discharge is also common. The area of infection gets collected with pus and is referred to as furuncle, boil or abscess. The staphylococcus bacteria can cause several skin infections such as impetigo, wherein a crusting of the skin occurs and cellulitis which is an inflammation of the tissues beneath the skin. In breast feeding mothers, the bacteria can cause inflammation or development of an abscess in the breast. The bacteria can also be present in the breast milk. If the bacteria penetrate too deeply and enter the skin, severe infections can take place. This is known as sepsis or bacteremia. Pneumonia caused by the staphylococcal bacteria can lead to pus formation in the lungs. Heart failure may occur if there is an infection of the heart valves. The bacteria may also spread to the bones in some cases and result in inflammation.

Most cases of staph infection are usually treated with oral or topical antibiotics. In case of abscesses, surgical drainage may be required. Intravenous antibiotics may need to be used in case of severe infections. The type of medication used is determined by the strain of staphylococcal bacteria that has infected the body. Minor infections may also be treated at home. However if symptoms such as fever or redness and warmth in the affected area occurs, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately. To encourage drainage of pus and to relieve pain, the affected area may be soaked in warm water. Application of heat compresses to the affected area, such as a hot water bottle or a heating pad may also help. This may be done twice or thrice a day for about twenty minutes each time. Washing the area with an antiseptic cleanser and applying a topical antibiotic also helps to alleviate the infection.


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