Anyone can contract a staph infection, which is a contagious disease caused by Staphylococcus bacteria (also referred to as "staph"). Most of the time, staph bacteria do not cause problems. However, the bacteria can sometimes get into the body and cause an infection.
This type of infection often occurs at sites of visible skin trauma (such as cuts and abrasions) and areas of the body covered by hair. A common symptom is a red bump on the skin that looks like a pimple, boil, or a spider bite.
Transmission occurs between individuals through direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with shared items (such as towels) or surfaces that have come into contact with someone else's infection. Treatment will depend on what type of staph infection you have and how severe your symptoms are. For example, mild cases may require treatment with nothing more than warm compresses. More serious infections may require oral or intravenous (IV) antibiotics.
(To learn more about this disease, click Staph Infection. This selection takes an in-depth look at how this condition is diagnosed, who it affects, and how long it typically takes before you start feeling better.)