Dealing with Staph Infection: Diagnosis


Monitor minor skin problems such as pimples, insect bites, cuts and scrapes, especially in children. Contact your health care provider if symptoms of staph infection are present or if a previously treated this infection seems to get worse rather than heal. Staph infection inside nose can range from minor to life-threatening, so it’s important to be diagnosed as soon as possible.

Your health care provider may recommend different tests depending on the extent and severity of your symptoms. Typically, tests for staph infection are done before starting antibiotic treatment because drugs that treat ordinary staph aren’t effective against MRSA, and their use could lead to serious illness and more resistant bacteria.

3 Ways to Diagnose a Staph Infection

1. The Naked Eye

Staphylococcus is a type of bacteria also known as staph. There are many types of staph bacteria and they can present themselves in many different ways–through skin problems, food poisoning or even hearing problems.

Many well known staph infections have presented themselves as skin infections, so they are easy to detect. To the naked eye some staph infections can appear as a boils that are big, red and sore. They may even be confused with pimples.

There are, however, over 30 species of staph bacteria living harmlessly on many skin surfaces, especially around the nose, mouth, genitals and anus. However, when the skin is punctured or broken for any reason, staph bacteria can enter the wound and cause an infection.

Staph infections of the skin can present themselves through infection of the hair follicles (folliculitis), furuncles, impetigo or cellulitis. These all show up in different ways, such as boils, sores, bumps, lesions, or even under the skin, as in the case of cellulitis.

As with many bacterial infections, staph proliferates in warm, humid environments. Excessive sweating can increase a person’s chances of developing an infection. People with skin problems like burns or eczema may be more likely to get staph skin infections as well.

People can get staph infections from contaminated objects, but staph bacteria often spread through skin-to-skin contact–the bacteria can be spread from one area of the body to another if someone touches the infected area.

All of the skin conditions attributable to staph begin with skin redness, swelling, warmth and tenderness. Often there is a mild fever. Staph infections of the skin can either be localized or can cover the entire body.

2. There’s a Rumble

If within 1 to 6 hours after eating you experience abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, it is possible that you have come in contact with food-borne staph bacteria. The illness often leaves just as suddenly as it comes, and most people recover in a day or two, though the effects can be more serious and longer lasting in children and older adults.

Staph bacteria usually live in foods that are improperly stored. Foods such as potato, eggs, tuna and chicken salads, pies or cream sauces are known culprits for harboring staph bacteria. Staph grows best at room temperature, so refrigerating high-risk foods is essential.

3. Doctor’s Orders

If you have a minor skin problem such as a pimple, insect bite, cut or scrape that persists for an extended period of time, or if a wound becomes infected, it is best to consult a doctor. Prior to starting a course of antibiotics, it is best to have any skin infection tested for MRSA. Antibiotics that treat ordinary staph are not effective against MRSA, and their use could lead to serious illness and more-resistant bacteria.

Staph infections are diagnosed by checking a tissue sample or nasal secretions for signs of the bacteria.