Staph Infection Types
There are several different types of staph infections, ranging from mild skin infections to serious infections affecting the lungs, blood, bone, or other parts of the body. In some cases, staph bacteria can release toxins that cause illness. For example, these types of toxins can cause toxic shock syndrome, food poisoning, and scalded skin syndrome.
A staph infection is caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. Several different types of Staphylococcus ("staph" for short) can cause infections in humans (see Staph Infection Causes).
Most of the time, staph bacteria cause skin infections; however, they can also cause more serious infections.
As mentioned, the most common part of the body infected by Staphylococcus is the skin. Staph infections that affect the skin include:
- Boils (also called furuncles)
- Folliculitis (an infection of the hair follicles)
- Carbuncles (this is larger than a boil)
Staph can also affect virtually any part of the body and cause a wide range of infections. Some examples of the part of the body and the infections Staphylococcus bacteria can cause include:
- Blood (bacteremia or septicemia)
- Soft tissue (cellulitis)
- Inner lining of the heart (infectious endocarditis)
- Bone (osteomyelitis)
- Lungs (bacterial pneumonia)
- The joints (septic arthritis or bacterial arthritis)
- Breasts (mastitis)
- The lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
- The urinary tract (urinary tract infection).
Staph bacteria can also release toxins that can cause problems within the body. Three examples of staph infections where the toxin causes the problem include:
- Toxic shock syndrome, which is an infection originally associated with certain types of tampons. It can cause symptoms like high fever, watery diarrhea, headache, muscle aches, and feeling faint.
- Scalded skin syndrome, which is an infection that causes the skin to look scalded. It is mostly seen in newborns and children under the age of five. Adults rarely get this condition.
- Food poisoning (bacterial gastroenteritis), typically from contaminated dairy, produce, meats, eggs, or salads. The toxin usually causes nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain in the affected person.