MRSA – Staphylococcus aureus

About 2 percent of the population carries MRSA bacteria somewhere on the body, the same bacteria that causes over 90,000 serious staph infections in the U.S. alone every year, and is linked to serious health problems like skin abscesses, sepsis and pneumonia. (1) MRSA is a type of resistant staph bacteria, which collectively are the No. 1 cause of blood-borne bacterial infection treated in the United States each year. Annually, about 1.2 million people visit an American hospital due to having symptoms of a staph infection and seeking MRSA treatment.

Since the mid 1970s, researchers have found that a growing number of people are now home to bacteria responsible for causing staph infections, but fortunately experts have been able to formulate new MRSA treatment options that can control or treat most outbreaks. The name of the bacteria responsible for causing most minor to moderate staph infections is staphylococcus, a microbe that’s now very common and lives on the skin of about 30 percent of adults and children. (2)

The vast majority of staph microbes living on the surface of the skin don’t cause symptoms of an infection, however they can if they make their way into deeper layers of the body and begin to proliferate — especially if they mutate in the process and are then able to resist treatment.

The biggest problem associated with staph bacteria is not that they exist, but that many strains have now have the ability to transform and defend themselves against antibiotics.

In 2005 alone, MRSA infections cost the health care system approximately $9.7 billion, and sadly many patients with severe infections were not able to overcome them due to resistance. (3) Preventing MRSA from spreading in the first place is one of the most important things we should focus on, considering research suggests that 20 percent to 30 percent of all staph infections might be preventable with hygiene and control programs put into place.

What Is MRSA?

MRSA is short for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria that contributes to infections of the skin, connective tissue, and sometimes bones, heart and blood vessels. While most staph infections are treatable with a combination of antibiotics and/or minor surgery to open up and drain inflamed abscesses, some MRSA infections are not and therefore remain a much more serious public health threat.

Because MRSA is resistant to antibiotic medications, it can sometimes continue to spread throughout the body as bacteria make their way through the bloodstream and into pockets where they can quickly reproduce. It’s been found that several MRSA microbes can transform themselves (mutate) from one strain to another, further enabling their survival. This is especially dangerous when MRSA reaches vital organs like the heart and lungs or begins to affect blood flow through major vessels.

Approximately 20 percent of all bloodstream infections treated in hospitals are now caused by MRSA staph bacteria. Prevention and catching blood-borne infections during their earliest stages remain the biggest concerns for experts.

Findings suggest that MRSA treatment protocols are in fact working and that MRSA infection rates have been coming down in recent years — however, MRSA still remains a significant problem. There are still more deaths in the U.S. and Europe due to MRSA staph infections each year than there are due to serious viruses like HIV.

Prevention and Natural MRSA Treatment Options

1. Only Take Antibiotics When Completely Necessary

Antibiotic resistance is now considered to be an urgent global matter. Antibiotics should only be taken when absolutely necessary to treat an infection. If someone takes antibiotics frequently or for long periods, including taking them to treat certain staph infections, they’re then at a greater risk for developing MRSA. The elderly seem to be at the highest risk for developing MRSA. Antibiotic resistance can affect people of all ages and in all nations, however, which is why health care providers are advised to be very selective about when they prescribe antibiotics to sick patients.

2. Strengthen Your Immune System

The likelihood of developing any type of infection has a lot to do with a patient’s overall immunity against microbes. Certain foods may be able to help strengthen your immune system against infections by improving gut health, preventing deficiencies and reducing allergies.

These include healing foods, such as breastmilk in infants, high-antioxidant foods, raw vegetables and fruit, garlic, fresh herbs/spices, wild-caught fish, probiotic foods, and drinking plenty of water. Foods to avoid that can worsen gut health, lower immunity, and promote allergies or inflammation are packaged, processed foods, potential food allergens like conventional dairy, gluten, shrimp and peanuts, conventional dairy products, refined fats or fried foods, and added sugar.†

Certain supplements might also offer increased protection, including omega-3 fish oil, zinc, vitamin C, echinacea, vitamin D, and antiviral herbs for immunity like calendula, elderberry and astragalus.

3. Hygiene and Hand-Washing

The Health Research Funding Organization and the CDC both state that properly using germ-killing soaps and/or ointments in health care settings could reduce cases of MRSA by about 40 percent. Practicing good cleanliness/hygiene in your home by regularly disinfecting shared surfaces and linens — in addition to hospitals, nursing homes, day cares and schools doing the same — is one of the best ways to prevent our current situation of contagious MRSA infections from worsening. (4)

Tips for helping lower your risk for a staph infection include:

  • Washing your hands often. It takes approximately 20–30 seconds to properly wash your hands using a natural antibacterial soap along with warm water. Taking this step alone whenever you leave a hospital, day care or nursing home can drastically cut your risk of MRSA or staph infection.
  • Use cleansing products shown to remove even most MRSA and staph bacteria.
  • Wash all fabrics and linens (especially when they’re shared), plus clean and disinfect all working surfaces regularly using a natural cleaning products and detergent.
  • Run any shared utensil, kitchen or cooking equipment through a dishwasher after use; bath after visiting a gym or health care facility; and avoid sharing personal items, such as towels or razors, that can carry bodily fluids.

4. Clean and Protect Cuts

If you cut your hands or puncture another area of skin, washing the cut and affected area can help remove staph bacteria before it has the chance to make its way into the bloodstream. Use a natural antibacterial handwash after going to the bathroom, before and after cooking, and when you leave places where transmission is most common, i.e., schools, restaurants, health clubs, hospitals or other high-risk public locations.

Try to keep scrapes, wounds or healing cuts clean and covered. Use band-aids, bandages or another dressing given to you by your doctor when appropriate. Don’t pick open blisters or scabs, and avoid touching other people’s open cuts. After surgery, always keep an eye on any incision and follow your doctor’s advice regarding cleaning and dressing procedures. If you notice signs like redness, swelling and oozing, then have your doctor look at the incision right away to treat any infection before it gets worse.

5. Properly Store and Handle Food to Avoid Contamination

Staphylococcal food poisoning is very serious, sometimes even fatal in infants, the elderly and patients with other long-term illness. To prevent staph bacteria from spreading through contaminated food and causing food poisoning, make sure that restaurant workers and those who handle your food always thoroughly wash their hands while working. (5)

At home, be sure to refrigerate and discard food properly, including foods that are more likely to carry bacteria, such as unpasteurized milk and cheese products (especially when they sit out for long periods), processed meats, puddings or custards, and any food that’s prepared using contaminated equipment. If you do develop staph food poisoning, help prevent complications due to dehydration (which can occur from vomiting or diarrhea) by consuming enough fluids, such as coconut water.

6. Naturally Treat Pain from Skin Rashes and Swollen Joints

Developing swollen, oozy blisters on the skin is the most common symptom of staph or MRSA infections. Although it might be tempting, don’t pick or try to “pop” blisters without help from a doctor. To help treat rashes, ease pain from blisters or reduce swelling of the skin at home, you can try the following tips:

  • Press a warm compress against the rash once or twice daily.
  • Always use a fresh, clean washcloth or towel, and make sure not to share the towel with anyone else afterward.
  • Add some warm water to the towel or microwave a dampened towel briefly (avoid making the compress very hot, which can make skin sensitivity even worse).
  • Press the compress against boils for about 10 minutes at a time. This same method also works for easing stiff joints caused by staph arthritis.
  • Take warm showers or baths. This allows heat to help soften the skin, reduce muscle tension and reduce swelling.
  • If you have swollen patches on your feet or lower legs, try elevating them to reduce blood flow and fluid accumulation.
  • Very gently stretch stiff areas to keep them from getting even more stiff, but don’t apply too much pressure to sensitive areas.
  • Don’t wear synthetic, tight clothing. This can make irritation and fluid accumulation worse. Also don’t apply makeup to blisters, which can carry bacteria.
  • Avoid other skin irritants as much as possible while you heal, including scented body soaps, detergents, shampoos, perfumes and lotions.
  • Although it’s best to get your doctor’s advice, you can consider using natural antibacterial essential oils topically like tea tree, rose and lavender, which have been shown to reduce symptoms of rashes.
  • If you have achy joints, try essential oils for arthritis.
  • Combine three drops of antibacterial essential oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and apply to the area one to three times daily.
  • Stop using essential oils, however, if you notice irritation, dryness or redness worsening.

MRSA Symptoms and Signs

Depending on what part of the body staph bacteria take up residence in, such as the skin or joints, for example, symptoms and severity of infections can range significantly. While it’s possible to carry MRSA and not show any symptoms, most who come into contact with this bacteria do develop health problems as a result.

The skin, the largest organ in the body, is one of the most susceptible to staph and MRSA infections. Most otherwise healthy people who wind up developing staph infections show symptoms on their skin first and foremost. Luckily, most skin staph infections are treatable and don’t progress, but in some patients they do. MRSA symptoms that affect the skin can include: (6)

  • Developing a rash of small, reddish bumps or blisters. 
  • Several types of rashes can be caused by staph infections. One is called impetigo, which is contagious and causes large blisters.
  • Another is called cellulitis, which occurs most often on the legs or feet and causes patches of visible ulcers.
  • Finally, staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome affects infants or babies, causing blisters that can open to expose raw skin.
  • Rashes caused by MRSA can look like inflamed pimples, feel warm or tender to touch, produce open ulcers, or form pus-filled boils.
  • Some bumps form crusty coatings, turn white, open up and release fluid, while others remain swollen, red and lead to pus-filled abscesses.
  • It’s common to develop a fever at the same time as having a staph skin infection.

When MRSA extends beyond the skin, penetrates deeper into the body and becomes a blood-borne infection, symptoms can include:

  • Signs of food poisoning, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and dizziness.
  • Fever symptoms, including chills, loss of appetite, low blood pressure, upset stomach or muscle pains/weakness. Fevers can become high and severe in some cases.
  • Septic arthritis symptoms, including joint pain, swelling and limited functionality (especially in the knees)
  • Heart problems, including endocarditis, or an infection of the inner lining of the heart. Patients recovering from heart surgery and who have an artificial heart valve implanted are at the highest risk for endocarditis. (7)
  • Symptoms of pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. This includes coughing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
  • According to the CDC, in severe cases MRSA can lead to the development of sepsis, which is a life-threatening reaction to severe infection in the body.

MRSA Causes and Risk Factors

Staph bacteria, including MRSA, are contagious, and research suggests that the majority of infections are caused from skin-to-skin contact and/or sharing personal items. MRSA is spread through contact when bacteria from an infected person’s body enters another patient’s skin or gastrointestinal tract through an open cut or wound (such as from sharing personal items like razors or towels) or from contaminated food.

Risk Factors for MRSA include:

  • Places where someone is most likely to be exposed to staph or MRSA bacteria, and then to develop a staph infection, include hospitals or health care settings, nursing homes, day care facilities, athletic facilities or health clubs, military grounds, and universities. (8)
  • All of these settings tend to be somewhat crowded, with people living in tight quarters and often sharing kitchen utensils, household items, linens or work-related equipment.
  • Another major risk factor for developing a MRSA infection is long-term use of antibiotics, which alter the delicate balance of good probiotic bacteria to bad bacteria living in the immune system and therefore lower the body’s natural protection against foreign microbes.
  • Finally, other things that can lower someone’s immunity against staph infections include having an autoimmune disorder, actively fighting another infection, healing from surgery, taking medications that suppress the immune system, smoking cigarettes or abusing drugs. 

 Conventional Staph Infection and MRSA Treatment

Most minor to moderate staph infections, especially those affecting the skin, are able to be treated by opening up and draining the affected area, sometimes in combination in a course of antibiotics. However, due to concerns over antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, doctors are hesitant to prescribe these medications unless completely necessary.

When antibiotics are used to treat staph infections, drugs can include cephalosporins, nafcillin, sulfa drugs or vancomycin. MRSA has been shown to be resistant to at least several types of antibiotics, however. MRSA is the most widespread type of staph that is antibiotic-resistant and causes serious infections in thousands of patients each year.

This is exactly why preventing MRSA from spreading globally is now an urgent matter. Scientists continue to explore MRSA treatment using different bacterial strains, but prevention remains the best tool we have.

Precautions with MRSA Treatment

Keep in mind that patients aren’t always able to determine they have a staph or MRSA infection just by observing symptoms — therefore always  get a professional opinion if you notice symptoms. MRSA is very serious, even life-threatening, and early treatment is key.

The CDC warns that finding infections early and getting care right away provide the best chance a patient has of controlling the infection, since intervention in the early stages prevents infections from becoming severe. Rather than attempting to treat infections on your own and battle through symptoms of a rash or a fever, stay home from work or school, leave any signs of the infection alone (such as skin blisters), and avoid close contact or sharing with others until you have a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Final Thoughts on MRSA Treatment

  • MRSA is a type of staph infection, bacterial infections that are caused by a common bacteria called Staphylococcus.
  • Most staph infections are treatable, however because MRSA is resistant to several types of antibiotic treatments, it remains one of the biggest public health risks.
  • Symptoms of a MRSA staph infection can become serious and severe, including severe skin rashes, food poisoning symptoms, damage to the heart and blood vessels, joint pain and symptoms of arthritis, pneumonia, and sepsis.
  • Prevention is key for overcoming MRSA.
  • Prevention tips include boosting immunity with a healthy diet, washing your hands, and cleaning and disinfecting your home/work environment regularly.
  • When an infection does occur, natural MRSA treatment to help control staph infection symptoms include reducing fevers naturally, alleviating joint pain with mild heat and stretching,
  • Consuming immunity-boosting supplements, and treating skin rashes with natural products and/or essential oils.

Staph Infection Symptoms, Causes & Natural Treatments

Staph infections account for about 20 percent of all hospital visits related to infections each year. The name of the bacteria responsible for causing many a staph infection is staphylococcus, which is actually very common and lives on the skin of approximately 30 percent of even the healthy human population. That means there’s a good chance that staph bacteria is living on your skin from virtually your head to toes, possibly even residing within your mouth and nostrils.

Staph bacteria don’t normally have the chance to proliferate, however, or cause negative reactions, thanks to protection from the immune system.

When they do occur, staph infections can take many forms, ranging in symptoms and severity depending on what part of the body they affect and the strength of someone’s overall immune system. The National Institute of Health has found that most staph germs are spread through skin-to-skin contact, and yes, they’re usually contagious in nature. (1)

One finding that scares many experts who study bacterial infections is that more and more antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria are now being discovered. This means that certain blood-borne infections caused by resistant staph can’t be treated with a normal course of antibiotics or other medications and therefore pose serious risks due to this antibiotic resistance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the most common form of resistant staph bacteria that’s immune to many antibiotics. As you can see, because antibiotics are not always a reliable treatment option for infections, preventing infections from developing in the first place by increasing immunity, avoiding contaminated products and practicing good hygiene are your best forms of protection against staph infection.

What Is a Staph Infection?

Staph infections are bacterial infections that can result in problems ranging from minor skin reactions all the way to serious, life-threatening heart complications. Experiencing skin rashes or symptoms of food poisoning — such as blistering, vomiting and dizziness — are two of the most common ways that a staph infection presents itself. These staph infections result from staph bacteria making their way into the pores through punctured skin or to the gastrointestinal tract from contaminated food.

Staph infections caused by Staphylococcus bacteria only become a problem when they spread to deeper parts of the body where they normally aren’t found and then proliferate to high levels. Sometimes bacteria can reach the bloodstream, where they travel to connective tissue, joints, bones, and vital organs like the lungs or heart.

Because there are various body parts and conditions that can be caused by staph infections, symptoms and signs are different from person to person. While people staying in the hospital or recovering from surgery are usually the most susceptible to developing staph infections, those who seem otherwise healthy are still at risk. The skin is one of the most frequent body parts to show signs staph of infection in patients who are overall healthy.

Wondering if staph infections are contagious? It’s been found that some staph bacteria can be spread from person to person or carried on contaminated foods, linens and surfaces. This includes the resistant bacteria called MRSA. MRSA has been shown to be transmitted through bed linens, bed rails, bathroom fixtures, hospital and kitchen equipment, and surgical/medical tools — plus found on sick patients’ and doctors’ hands, in their homes and on their clothing.

Staph Infection Symptoms

Some of the most common staph infection symptoms that affect the skin can include:

  • Developing an abscess that causes redness, swelling and pain: These can be in the form of a visible boil, infected hair follicle (which looks like an ingrown hair) or a bump that look like a cystic acne pimple. Many who develop a staph infection of the skin form of a visible swollen pocket that contains pus and feels tender when touched.
  • Forming a painful rash: Several types of rashes can be caused by staph infections. One is called impetigo, which is a skin rash that’s contagious and causes large blisters to form. Blisters can sometimes form crust coatings or open up and release fluid. Another is called cellulitis, which is caused from an infection deeper beneath the skin’s surface. Cellulitis occurs most often on the legs or feet and can cause patches of visible ulcers that eventually ooze open.
  • In infants or babies, a type of staph infection called staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome can cause a rash or blisters that open up and expose raw skin. Some also develop symptoms of a fever at the same time.
  • Bacteremia develops when staph bacteria reach the bloodstream. This can cause staph infection symptoms that affect digestion and the vital organs, including:
  • Symptoms of food poisoning, such as nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and dizziness
  • Low blood pressure and feeling shaky
  • Symptoms of a fever, such as having the chills, loss of appetite, shakiness, upset stomach or weakness
  • High fevers can result from staph infections called toxic shock syndrome, which can cause toxicity, rashes, confusion, muscle pains and digestive upset
  • Septic arthritis symptoms can also form, and this type of infection causes swelling and pain in the joints, especially the knees. Septic arthritis can also cause pain and inflammation in the spine, feet, ankles, hips, wrists, hands, elbows and shoulders.

One of the most serious conditions caused by a staph infection is endocarditis, which affects the endocardium (the inner lining of the heart). (2) It’s been found that between 10 percent to 20 percent of people who undergo surgery to implant an artificial heart valve develop endocarditis within 60 days. (3) This can affect blood flow and sometimes cause symptoms like damage to the lungs, congestive heart failure or kidney problems.

What Causes Staph Infections? 

Although many of us carry staph bacteria on our bodies, the skin and immune system usually protect us from infection by acting like natural barriers and regulators of bacterium. However, when you consume contaminated food, undergo surgery or get cut, for example, it’s possible for staph bacteria to enter into the body, make their way through the bloodstream and reproduce to high levels.

Staph bacteria can proliferate inside closed-off parts of the body, forming abscesses, allowing pus to accumulate, redness, heat, swelling and usually some pain. Staph bacteria are especially harmful when they enter parts of the body that are normally blocked from their presence, cut off from air flow and have poor circulation.

As staph bacteria continue to reproduce inside the affected area, the immune system responds by raising inflammation in order to attack the infection. Inflammation caused from a patient’s own immune system is part of what leads to destructive staph infection symptoms. Toxins released from staph bacteria can cause an excessive immune response that attacks the body’s own healthy tissue. For example, with endocarditis infections, inflammation causes capillary leakage, low blood pressure, shock, fever, destruction of the heart valves and sometimes strokes.

Risk factors for developing a staph infection include:

  • Staying in a hospital or nursing home where bacteria can spread from patient to patient. People in the hospital are mostly likely to get an MRSA infection, especially if they already have a run-down immune system due to having another health problem or taking antibiotics.
  • Being sick with another infection, autoimmune disorder or condition that causes low immunity.
  • Spending lots of time in public settings where you might be around other sick children or adults, including daycare centers, schools or universities.
  • Undergoing surgery, especially to implant an artificial device, joint, stent or pacemaker. Bacteria can sometimes accumulate around these foreign objects in the body or enter the bloodstream through surgical incisions.
  • Having wounds, stitches, incisions or cuts that are left uncleaned and untreated.
  • Using expired or contaminated tampons and feminine products, or not changing them often enough.
  • Consuming foods that are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria that cause food poisoning. These foods include pork products, old vegetables or fruits that have been left out, and unrefrigerated meat or dairy products.
  • Not washing your hands regularly after using public bathrooms, going to a health facility/gym, or sharing equipment that can carry sweat, blood or other fluids along with bacteria.
  • Having low immune function due to a poor diet, nutrient deficiencies, allergies and an unhealthy lifestyle.

Conventional Treatment for Staph Infections

Diagnosis of staph infection or poisoning in an individual is usually based on observing signs and symptoms. Sometimes blood, stool or urine tests are also used to confirm diagnoses. The conventional way of treating staph infections is usually:

  • Opening up the affected area up in order to reduce inflammation and drain out excess blood or dead cells (which form pus)
  • Prescribing antibiotics

In many cases, abscesses caused from staph infections can be closed off from drainage and therefore cause pain and swelling. This can happen when cellular debris and pus are left behind by the immune system but have nowhere to go (much like an infected pimple that’s beneath the surface of the skin and doesn’t form a noticeable white head). In this case, doctors might open up the abscess, blister, ulcer, etc., in order to relieve fluid from the infection.

Antibiotics such as cephalosporins, nafcillin, sulfa drugs or vancomycin are commonly used to fight staph bacteria, however some strains of bacteria have now become resistant to these medications. (4) Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (usually called MRSA) is the most widespread type of staph that is antibiotic-resistant and causes serious infections in thousands of patients each year. (5) Although researchers continue to explore ways to treat MRSA infections with new types of antibiotics, some patients don’t respond and wind up needing surgery to remove MRSA abscesses.

Staph Infection Prevention and Natural Treatments 

1. Strengthen Your Immune System

Avoid inflammatory and allergenic foods that disturb gut health and lower immune function, including packaged, processed foods; potential food allergens like conventional dairy, gluten, shrimp and peanuts; refined fats or fried foods; and added sugar.

Consider taking herbs and supplements to boost immune function, such as zinc; antioxidants like vitamin C, echinacea and vitamin D; and antiviral herbs for immunity like calendula, elderberry and astragalus. In addition, fill up on healing foods like fresh fruits and veggies, probiotic foods, bone broth, and healthy fats like coconut, nuts and seeds.

2. Practice Good Hygiene and Hand-Washing

Regularly wash all fabrics and linens (especially when they’re shared) using a natural antibacterial detergent. Ideally look for detergents containing essential oils that have antibacterial/antimicrobial properties, or make a homemade laundry soap yourself.

Be sure to wash all dirty clothes containing bodily fluids, towels and bedding, particularly after they come into contact with someone who has an infection.

Clean and disinfect all working surfaces thoroughly and regularly, including those in bathrooms and kitchens. Public surfaces that are used or touched daily carry the biggest risk for spreading staph bacteria, including doorknobs, phones, or surfaces in public restrooms and locker rooms.

Frequently disinfect shared items in your home or workplace using natural cleaning products, especially those regularly used with someone’s hands, such as phones, doorknobs, keys, cabinet handles and keyboards. Run any shared utensils and kitchen or cooking equipment through a dishwasher after use.

Food workers should always wash their hands thoroughly to prevent foodborne illnesses from spreading.

Avoid sharing personal items, such as towels or razors, that can carry bodily fluids.

If you go to a gym or exercise facility, make sure to clean equipment after use and shower once you leave. Try using a towel when putting your bare skin on any surface, such as a protective layer between you and mats or the gym floor. Wash your hands after lifting weights, touching machines or using the bathroom.

Employees who are sick or suffering from infections should avoid going to work, and children who are sick should stay home from school. In public settings where shared equipment is used, such as tools, computers, phones, uniforms, helmets and protective gear, all equipment should be regularly disinfected.

3. Clean and Protect All Open Cuts

Be sure to keep any cuts, incisions or wounds clean and covered using band-aids, bandages or another dressings. Use a natural antibacterial wash over skin when showering, and make sure to protect openings in the skin when in high-risk settings like hospitals or nursing homes. Be sure to let your doctor know right away if a cut shows signs of infection, including redness, swelling and oozing, since this can help prevent the infection from worsening. 

4. Properly Store and Handle Food

Staphylococcal food poisoning is caused from staph bacteria entering the gastrointestinal tract after eating foods that are contaminated with toxins left behind from staph microbes. Staphylococcus aureus is mostly likely to affect food workers who can come into contact with staph bacteria when touching contaminated products or who pick up bacteria from employees or when working on dirty surfaces.

In most patients, symptoms like severe nausea and vomiting begin quickly after staph enters the digestive system, usually within two to eight hours. (6) To prevent staph food poisoning from spreading, employees in restaurants, grocery stores, butchers, etc., should always thoroughly wash their hands after touching food or after going to the bathroom, stay home when they’re sick, and refrigerate food properly.

Foods that have a higher risk for spreading staph bacteria include raw foods prepared with someone’s bare hands, unpasteurized milk and cheese products (especially when they sit out for long periods), salty pork products, processed meats, puddings or custards, and any food that’s prepared using contaminated equipment.

Will cooking food remove staph bacteria? Unfortunately, the CDC reports that toxins created in food by staph bacteria cannot usually be killed from cooking or heating food. This is why it’s still possible to get food poisoning from any type of prepared meal. Fortunately, food poisoning symptoms should go away within one to two days in most cases.

Food poisoning staph symptoms don’t respond to taking antibiotics, so unless you’re becoming very weak or dizzy, you don’t usually need to visit a doctor office.

In the case of food poisoning symptoms, to prevent symptoms of dehydration due to vomiting or diarrhea, try to consume fluids (such as coconut water or freshly made fruit/veggie juice for electrolytes), stay in a cool environment and get plenty of rest. If staph food poisoning affects infants, children or the elderly, it’s recommended you head to the doctor right away.

5. Treat Skin Rashes and Blisters

To help reduce pain from blisters or lower skin swelling due to a staph rash:

  • Press a warm compress against the rash once or twice daily using a fresh, clean washcloth or towel. You can also take warm showers (but not too hot) or baths to reduce swelling and tenderness.
  • Elevate painful or swollen areas to prevent too much fluid accumulation.
  • Very gentle stretch stiff areas to keep them from getting even more stiff.
  • Wear loose, breathable clothing.
  • Avoid other skin irritants as much as possible while you heal, including scented body soaps, detergents, shampoos, perfumes and lotions.
  • Speak to your doctor about applying a soothing essential oil, such as lavender, to the skin, combined with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, several times daily.

Staph Infection Facts and Figures

  • Staph bacteria is the most significant cause of serious infectious diseases in the United States every year. Every year about 1.2 million people visit a hospital due to various staph infections.
  • Around one in three American adults carries staph bacteria on the skin or inside the airways, although most suffer no symptoms as a result.
  • The type of staph infection called staphylococcal infective endocarditis, which affects the heart valves and is the most serious complication of staph bloodstream infection, kills approximately 20,000 Americans each year. (7) Staph endocarditis causes over 94,000 life-threatening infections yearly and has a death rate of about 50 percent. (8)
  • Because antibiotic resistance has become a serious problem, only about 10 percent of today’s staph infections can be cured with penicillin antibiotics. Fortunately, however, a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that rates of life-threatening MRSA infections in health care settings are now declining, with 9,000 fewer deaths reported in hospital patients in 2011 versus in 2005.
  • About 2 percent of all staph infections are caused by MRSA bacteria. (9)
  • On average, it costs about $6,400 to treat every MRSA infection in the U.S.
  • Around 5 percent of people staying in American hospitals will develop some type of staph infection due to their stay. Proper hygiene and disinfection in hospitals can cut back on the amount of staph infections patients develop by around 40 percent, according to some studies.
  • The country with the highest prevalence rate of serious staph infections is the U.K., while the Netherlands has the lowest rate.

Precautions When Treating Staph Infections

Because these infections can be serious and contagious, always consult with your doctor if you suspect you might have signs of have a staph infection. This is especially important in infants or children, the elderly, following surgery, or if you have another health condition that affects your immune system. Seek professional help if symptoms worsen and don’t go away within one week, or if they appear suddenly and cause very high fevers or swelling.

Final Thoughts on Staph Infections

  • Staph infections are caused by a common bacteria called Staphylococcus. Some staph bacteria, including MRSA, are resistant to antibiotic treatments and therefore the biggest risk to public health.
  • Symptoms of a staph infection can affect the skin, GI tract, heart, blood vessels, joints, lungs and bones. Some of the most common staph infection signs are food poisoning, skin rashes, forming blisters that ooze open, joint pain and fevers.
  • Prevention and natural treatments for staph infections include boosting immunity with a healthy diet, washing your hands, cleaning and disinfecting your home/work environment regularly, reducing fevers naturally, and treating skin pain with heat and essential oils.