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  • Staphylococcus
    ("cluster of berries")



Staph Infection
by Brian B. Carter, MS, LAc

Brian is the founder of the Pulse of Oriental Medicine, medical professor at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and author of Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure.

Brian Carter, acupuncturist, herbalist, and author

Staph (pronounced "staff") is short for the staphylococcus bacteria.

This little bacterium is very common (it lives on your skin), but when it enters your body through an cut or during surgery, it can cause an infection. Staph infections produce pus. Skin infections from staphylococcus include:

  • Folliculitis: Staph infections of hair follicles cause itchy, white, pus-filled bumps on your skin (often where people shave or have irritations from skin rubbing against clothes)
  • Boils: Infections deeper within hair follicles that leave large, frequently red inflammations (often occur on the face or neck)
  • Sties: Infection of the follicle surrounding the eyelashes, causing a sore red bump in the eyelid
  • Impetigo: The infection kids often get around their mouths and noses that causes blisters and red scabby skin
  • Abscesses: Infection characterized by pus and swelling that can occur in the skin and in any other organ.

Staph infection is also the leading cause of food poisoning, can be to blame for larger life threatening conditions, such as Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), pneumonia, bone infections (osteomyelitis), mastitis in nursing mothers, endocarditis (infection of the inside of the heart), and bacteremia (blood infection). Healthy people usually don't become severely ill from staph infections, but those at special risk, who have weakened immune systems, include:

Health care professionals can determine that it's a staph infection by taking a culture (a swab with a giant Q-tip) from the infected site. Once staph is diagnosed, your provider prescribes antibiotics that kill that specific bacterial strain.

Hospitals are trying to stop staph infections, because most hospital patients are at risk, and because drug-resistant strains of staph (versions of the bacteria not vulnerable to the antibiotics used to treat staph infections) are becoming more common. People with resistant staph infections may require hospitalization to receive antibiotics through an IV or by injection.

As far as we know, however, bacteria do not develop resistance to the complex natural antibiotics in herbs.
For more on natural antibiotics and antivirals, click here.

Preventative measures include careful treatment of all skin conditions, including wound care after trauma or surgery, IV drug users taking precautions when injecting, and people with special risk factors being attentive to early symptoms of staph.

More info about staph infections:

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About The PULSE
All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor