Staph Infection Complications
Although complications from staph infections are primarily seen in people who are hospitalized, serious problems are now becoming more common in the community. MRSA is a problem that is especially dangerous, as the bacteria resist treatment with certain antibiotics. Staph infections aren't confined to the skin -- they can affect the lungs, blood, joints, and virtually any other part of the body.
Staphylococcus infections ("staph" for short) are caused by Staphylococcus bacteria (see Staph Infection Causes). This group of bacteria has gained a lot of interest in the past several years because of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA for short).
MRSA is a strain of bacteria resistant to certain types of antibiotics. Once primarily seen in hospitals and healthcare settings, such as nursing homes, MRSA is now becoming more common in the community (this is known as community-associated MRSA).
Most Staphylococcus bacteria do not cause infections. When they do, they most often affect the skin. These skin infections may appear as pustules or boils, and are often red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. They commonly occur at sites of visible skin trauma, such as cuts and abrasions, and areas of the body covered by hair, such as the back of the neck, groin, buttocks, armpits, and beard area of men.
Staph bacteria can also cause more serious infections inside the body. Some of these may occur as a complication of a staph skin infection. In most cases, however, they do not.