Staph infections are caused by a type of germ (staphylococcus bacteria) typically found on the skin or in the noses of healthy individuals. In most cases, this bacteria does little more than cause mild skin conditions such as boils and do not require antibiotics. According to the National Institutes of Health, There are more than 30 types of staph infections.
From time to time staph bacteria may enter your bloodstream, urinary tract, lungs or heart and cause potentially life-threatening infections.
Treating Skin Conditions
Skin-related problems are the No. 1 type of staph skin infection. The condition often resembles pimples or boils. They may be painful, red and swollen and may produce pus.
Minor skin infections are commonly treated with an antibiotic ointment such as a triple-antibiotic mixture that does not require a prescription.
However, oral antibiotics such as moxifloxacin may be prescribed to treat certain types of bacterial infections including skin infections.
Serious Staph Infections
Serious and potentially life-threatening staph infections are treated with intravenous antibiotics. The exact type of medication will vary depending on the vulnerability of the specific staphylococcal strain that's revealed in laboratory culture results.
Among the antibiotics that are used to treat staph are rifampin, clindamycin, avelox and septra (SMZ/TMP or bactrim).
Some of the more serious staph infections are food poisoning, blood poisoning (bacteremia) and toxic-shock syndrome .
Resistance to Antibiotics
Some kinds of staph bacteria have become resistant to at least one type of antibiotics. According to the Mayo Clinic, penicillin is able to cure less than 10 percent of today's staph infections.
Nearly 50 percent of staph bacteria commonly found in hospitals can withstand the frequently prescribed antibiotic methicillin.
The Mayo Clinic says when staph bacteria become resistant to methicillin, they also become resistant to several other antibiotics.
MRSA & Antibiotics
The National Institutes of Health states that methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a common type of bacteria that live on the skin and occasionally in the nasal passages of healthy people.
The extreme resistance of MRSA to some antibiotics has led to the use of more potent and more toxic antibiotics, such as vancomycin. Some strains of staph bacteria have also become resistant to vancomycin.
The NIH says other antibiotics that may still be effective for MRSA include clindamycin, daptomycin doxycycline, linezolid (Zyvox), minocycline and tetracycline.
When your doctor discovers what type of staph bacteria is causing your infection, he or she will select an antibiotic that will be most beneficial for you.