One of the most common questions asked by people who contract a staph infection is also one of the most sensible: is a staph infection contagious? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. That, of course, means that anyone who has a staph infection should take precautions to ensure that they adequately protect others from contact with the bacteria that causes the infection. It also means that every person should take the necessary steps to ensure that they observe proper hygienic habits so as to avoid contracting the infection in the first place.
How contagious is it?
If you’re wondering how contagious a staph infection is the answer is simple: it depends. In general, the early stages of the infection are the most contagious – especially when the wound in which staph often stakes hold is not properly dressed. The contagiousness of any staph infection tends to diminish with the application of antibiotics, however, as is true with most ailments that require such treatment. As the antibiotics battle the bacteria within the body, they also tend to shield it from leaving the body and being passed on to other people.
Many people often wonder what they can do to diminish the contagiousness of the staph bacteria, to prevent themselves from contracting a staph infection in the first place. This is, in general, never a guaranteed form of protection, but it is the most common sense way to avoid most infections. To begin with, you should use a strong hand cleaner with an alcohol base and wash your hands frequently – particularly after making contact with any surface on which the bacteria may be sitting. Though some people think that they can accomplish the same effect using regular soap and water, the fact is that alcohol solutions are far more effective in killing most strains of bacteria.
Treat your wounds
Preventing the most contagious aspects of staph infection also involves the proper cleaning and covering of any cut or wound. The idea of leaving wounds open so that the air can heal them is an old one – but one that can lead to many unforeseen complications. The best way to prevent a staph infection from affecting your wounds is to thoroughly clean any cut you receive, and then continually provide clean bandages to dress them and ward off any opportunity for bacteria to make contact.
Watch your food
One often overlooked form of bacteria contagion can sometimes arrive with your dinner plate in a restaurant. Eggs, mayonnaise, and other foods and cooking ingredients can be the perfect vehicle for staph bacteria. Be certain that, if you plan to order these foods in a restaurant, you know exactly how diligent the food preparers are in keeping their hands clean ad covered while making your meal. Salmonella is not the only thing that can make you sick in a restaurant!
The bottom line
The bottom line on whether staph infections are contagious is an easy one to understand. The staph bacteria should be avoided whenever possible, and these common sense steps can help you to accomplish that goal. When staph is contracted, however, it is important that you do everything you can to minimize the risk your infection poses to your family and others with whom you may come into contact. Hygiene is the key component to staph avoidance, since the best way to avoid the staph bacteria is to maintain the healthiest hygienic standards you can. The fact is, however, that you are at some point or another likely to come into contact with staph infections, so you should be armed with as much information as possible to ensure that you can manage the contagiousness of the infection.