Staph infection is caused by the virus Staphylococcus aureus. A Staph infection can affect the skin, bones, blood or lungs. When Staph is present in the scalp, it May cause conditions such as folliculitis, furncles or carbunkles. Folliculitis can appear as small, white headed pimples around the hair follicle, while furncles, the next step in the infection can seem even more inflamed. Finally, if the infection does not clear, it becomes a carbuncle or boil.
Staph infection can easily spread through direct contact. It can be brought on by scratching the scalp with infected fingernails, or through using a contaminated hair brush. For this reason it is important not to share brushes and to frequently bathe and wash the hands. Particularly after visiting public restrooms.
In all stages of the condition, folliculitis, furncles and carbuncles may form a puss that drains. If the puss is not properly drained, it can spread the infection to other areas of the scalp or the body through touching clothes, bed linens or towels. It is important to properly drain the affected area and to thoroughly clean all clothing, linens and towels that touch the affected area.
Shaving should be avoided or kept to a minimum if you have staph infection in the hair follicles. This includes shaving the face, the back of the hair, or the underarm region. Staph can be transferred from one area to another via infected razors. Additionally, staph sores can be opened or irritated through the razor's action.
Staph infections are a common problem among pets. The staph germs can be spread from pets to people. One way for a person to develop staph infection is to pet a dog, cat or other pet who has staph infection, and then touch a part of your skin without first washing your hands. If your pet has crusty or oozing wounds, seek treatment from a vet.
Another way that staph is often transmitted is through direct contact with others who already have staph infections, particularly those who do not practice good hygiene themselves. A person who has staph and does not wash her hands spreads the staph germs to everything she touches, including public restrooms, stair and escalator hand rails and in social settings where she is called on to shake hands. It is best to avoid others who have developed staph infections until they are well. Minimizing your contact with the staph germs will minimize your chances for developing them.