Staphylococcus infections are caused by the bacteria called staphylococcus aureus, which many healthy people carry on their skin and in their noses without getting sick.
But when skin is punctured or broken, staphylococcus bacteria can enter the wound and cause infections that can lead to other health problems.
Staphylococcus bacteria is air borne and also spreads through coming into contact with an infected surface. Kids can carry staphylococcus bacteria from one area of their body to another or even pass it to other people through dirty hands or fingernails. So good hand washing is vital to preventing staphylococcus infections.
A person need to keep areas of skin that have been injured such as cuts, scrapes, and rashes caused by allergic reactions or poison ivy clean and covered, and follow any directions given by the doctor.
An Example of a disease caused by staphylococcus infection is Folliculitis - an infection of hair follicles, tiny pockets under the skin where hair shafts (strands) grow.
In folliculitis, tiny white-headed pimples appear at the base of hair shafts, sometimes with a small red area around each pimple. This infection often occurs in areas where there’s been friction and irritation such as with shaving.
Folliculitis often clears up on its own with good skin hygiene. Sometimes, it can progress to become a boil.
With a boil, the staphylococcus infection spreads deeper and wider, often affecting the skin’s subcutaneous tissue (deeper tissue under the skin) and the oil-producing glands, which are called sebaceous glands.
In the first stage, which parents and kids often miss, the area of skin either begins to itch or becomes mildly painful. Next, the skin turns red and begins to swell over the infected area. Finally, the skin above the infection becomes very tender and a whitish “head” may appear.
The head may break, and the boil may begin to drain pus, blood, or an amber-colored liquid. Boils can occur anywhere on the skin, especially under the arms or on the groin or buttocks especially for the kids.
To help relieve pain from a boil, try warm-water soaks, a heating pad or a hot-water bottle applied to the skin for about 20 minutes, three or four times a day.
Make sure that the washed clothes used for the soaks are washed after each use. Boils are occasionally treated with oral antibiotics and in some cases need to be surgically drained.