How to tell if a Staph infection is getting better? 

Staph infections are a common type of bacterial skin infection that can cause a range of symptoms from minor skin irritation to more serious conditions such as cellulitis and sepsis.

If you have been diagnosed with a staph infection, you may be wondering how to tell if it’s getting better. While every case is different, there are several signs that indicate your infection is improving.

We will explore the key indicators that your staph infection is getting better and what you can do to help speed up the healing process.

What is a Staph infection?

Staphylococcus infection is caused by the bacteria “Staphylococcus aureus”. This bacteria is commonly found on the skin and nose of healthy humans.

It becomes problematic when it enters the body through cuts, wounds, and abrasions. When Staphylococcus bacteria get into the body, it causes a range of infections from minor to severe.  

Because of the resistant nature of some strains of Staphylococcus infections to antibiotics, it becomes necessary to monitor your Staph infection to ensure that you are responding to treatment, and not getting worse.

If Staphylococcus aureus is left untreated, the infection can spread and cause more serious health complications like sepsis, bloodstream infections, and endocarditis.

By monitoring your Staph infection and communicating with your healthcare provider, you can ensure that you recover fully. This also helps prevent your infection from spreading and causing serious health complications.  

Science photo library

Early symptoms of Staphylococcus aureus infection 

Staphylococcus aureus infection is broadly grouped into complicated and uncomplicated types of infection.

Because Staphylococcus aureus bacteria causes a variety of infections, the symptoms vary, depending on the type of infection it causes.  

In most cases, the early symptoms are associated with uncomplicated  Staphylococcus aureus, while advanced symptoms are associated with complicated Staphylococcus aureus.

However, there are times when  Staphylococcus aureus infection starts out as complicated. This type of infection is rare, and most times only found in patients with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems.  

Early symptoms of Staphylococcus Aureus infection include: 

  • Redness and swelling of the affected area 
  • Accumulation of pus in the affected area
  • Warmth and fever 
  • Pain and tenderness of skin of the affected area 
  • Inflammation. 

In mild cases of Staphylococcus aureus, symptoms are resolved within 7 to 10  days of antibiotic therapy.  

Advanced symptoms of Staphylococcus aureus infection

In cases where the Staph infection is complicated, the bacteria has spread from the original site of infection to other parts of the body. It starts to infect deeper tissue, bones, and other vital organs of the body.

It is important to know that not all uncomplicated cases of Staphylococcus aureus evolve into complicated case, no matter how long it stays in the body.

However, some uncomplicated Staph infections, eventually evolve into complicated cases if left untreated.

Complicated Staphylococcus aureus infections can manifest as sepsis, infective endocarditis, Staphylococcus aureus Lemierre syndrome, and Septic  Pelvic thrombophlebitis. 

Advanced symptoms of Staphylococcus aureus infection include: 

  • Skin redness and inflammation 
  • Ulcers 
  • High fever 
  • Death of cells or tissues 
  • Severe pain and weakness 
  • The affected area becomes dysfunctional 
  • Sepsis 
  • Skin lesions 
  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing 

It is important that you know that the symptoms listed here are not limited to cases of complicated Staph infection.  

How to tell if a Staph infection is getting better: Signs of Recovery from Staph Infection 

Since Staphylococcus aureus bacteria can colonize different parts of the body to manifest symptoms, the signs of recovery from a Staph infection will depend on its severity and location.  

The signs that a Staph infection is getting better include: 

  • Reduction in pain: As the infection starts to heal, the pain and discomfort associated with the infection should significantly reduce.  
  • Decrease in inflammation: The area affected by the infection starts to go back to normal as the body recovers from the infection. 
  • Ability to move better: If the staph infection was located in a muscle or joint, you may regain your ability to move about with less pain and discomfort as the infection clears out.  
  • Reduction in fever: Your body temperature will start to normalize as you  recover from the Staph infection 
  • Decrease in drainage of pus: If you experience symptoms involving drainage of pus, you will begin to notice that the amount of pus coming out reduces and the site where it poured out from initially, begins to dry up.  

The best way to tell if your Staph infection is getting better is to monitor the symptoms that you were experiencing upon diagnosis. You can deduce if it is getting better or not if you notice you’re recovering from the symptoms. 

It is important that you complete the required dosage even if you notice an improvement in your symptoms. Also, make sure you follow any other instructions given to you by your healthcare provider.  

Signs that your Staph Infection is not getting better 

  • Spread of inflammation beyond the initial site of infection. 
  • Increase in pain and swelling 
  • Increase in production of pus  
  • Fever 
  • Antibiotic resistance 
  • Development of new symptoms

If your symptoms become worse, or you notice that the infection is spreading to other sites even while you’re taking medication, it is an indication that you’re not recovering from your infection. Sometimes, after antibiotic therapy, a relapse may occur.

According to a study, people with uncomplicated Staph infection who received antibiotic therapy for less than 2 weeks experience more relapse than those who received treatment for more than 2 weeks.

Although, antibiotic therapy for as little as 7 days may be adequate in some cases.  

Relapse may also be due to Staphylococcus aureus resistance to the antibiotic. 

What Next? 

You should seek medical help if, after treatment of your Staph infection, you discover that your infection isn’t getting better. You should also check out for new symptoms, or a relapse of the infection.  

At every point of your treatment, you should talk to your healthcare provider about any concern you may have regarding the infection. 

Read Next

Last Updated on September 13, 2023 by Our Editorial Team