Staph infections present year-round problem
Unlike the flu or other illnesses that strike seasonally, staph infection is a threat that looms year-round.
One of the difficulties with staph infections is that the germs are already present on the skin, said Michael Reeh, a general physician in Hillsboro.
“You have nonpathogenic staph growing on your skin all the time,” he said. “It’s an environment that can support the survival of pathogenic staph.”
Since germs are present on most surfaces, keeping hands clean is the most important factor to avoiding infection, Reeh said.
“People need to do good hand washing,” he said. “Any time they have an injury they need to keep it clean with soap and water. That’s what prevents it. Any kind of an injury that breaks the skin, you want to keep the area clean.”
A small cut, an ingrown hair, or even dry skin that gets irritated from scratching can be an entry point for staph, Reeh said.
“It can be microscopic, it just has to be enough of a break that bacteria can get in,” he said. “If you’re run down or fighting other illnesses, you can be more susceptible to infection.”
While antibiotics are sometimes needed to get past an illness, overuse can lead to resistant germs, Reeh said.
“These organisms reproduce,” he said. “They pass on their good genes because that’s what survives. If you kill off the population that’s weak with the antibiotic, it allows the germs that are resistant to survive and reproduce.”
Last modified March 21, 2019