Cuts, scratches and scrapes are a typical part of growing up. A quick clean-up, a bandage, and a kiss from Mom frequently suffice to make everything better. Sometimes, however, a cut or scrape may become infected and, if not treated appropriately, could worsen and lead to an infection.
A Staph infection, for example, can occur when an open wound is exposed to Staph bacteria – a bacteria found on the skin or in the nose of about a third of the population, according to The Mayo Clinic.
Staph bacteria, the most common cause of skin infections in the United States, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), can cause minor infections such as boils and pimples, which are usually treated without antibiotics. A more serious Staph infection may require an antibiotics regimen in order to rid the body of the infection.
If you think that your child may have a Staph infection, consult your child’s pediatrician, who can advise if treatment requires antibiotics.
The CDC notes that Staph infections are more likely to occur under the following conditions:
- Skin-to-skin contact with a person who has a Staph infection
- Contact with surfaces that contain Staph bacteria
- Open wounds such as cuts and scrapes
- Crowded living conditions
- Poor hygiene
To decrease the likelihood of family members getting a Staph infection, or to help prevent Staph bacteria from spreading, the CDC recommends the following precautions:
- Wash hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Clean cuts and scrapes, and keep them clean by covering them with bandages
- Don’t touch the cuts or bandages of other people
- Don’t share personal items such as towels and razors
Additionally, the Mayo Clinic recommends that people, especially children, avoid sharing clothing and athletic equipment since CA-MRSA – a very powerful and often antibiotic-resistant type of Staph infection – has been known to spread through both amateur and professional sports teams. They also advise keeping an eye on your child’s minor skin irritations, and that if a cut, scrape, pimple, or insect bite becomes infected, that you should take your child to the doctor to have the skin infection tested.
Good hygiene, prompt and thorough care of cuts, scratches and scrapes, close monitoring of injuries, and sticking to some simple preventative measures, can help to keep your family free of Staph infections.