Staph infections, short for staphylococcal infections, are a group of bacterial infections caused by Staphylococcus bacteria.
These infections can vary in severity, ranging from minor skin conditions to life-threatening diseases.
Staphylococcus bacteria are a common part of the human microbiota and are often found on the skin and mucous membranes without causing harm.
However, when these bacteria enter the body through a cut, wound, or other means, they can lead to infections.
The primary purpose of this article is to address a common concern: whether staph infections can be transmitted from an infected individual to their close contacts, such as family members or romantic partners.
We’ll explore the nature of staph infections, their contagiousness, and practical steps to minimize the risk of transmission.
By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of how to protect yourself and your loved ones when faced with a staph infection in your immediate environment.
The Quick Answer
The quickest answer to this question is yes. Yes, you can be infected with a staphylococcus infection if your husband has it.
However, it’s not as straightforward as you think. Hence there’s not one answer to this question until we establish the type of staph infection your husband has.
What is a Staph infection?
Staph infections are infectious diseases caused by Staphylococcus aureus. These are mostly skin infections that are a result of the bacteria entering a cut or a sore.
Some of these Staph infections are spread by direct touch with other people, sharing of things like towels or toothbrushes, and droplets from coughing and sneezing.
For instance, paronychia, sometimes mistaken for whitlow, is a fingernail infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus that invades the human body through a cut around the fingernails and it is contagious.
Types of Staph Infections
Staph infections come in various forms, each with its own set of symptoms and potential complications. Some common types include:
- Skin Infections: These can manifest as boils, impetigo, cellulitis, or abscesses. Symptoms often include redness, swelling, pain, and the presence of pus.
- Food Poisoning: Staph bacteria can produce toxins that, when ingested through contaminated food, lead to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.
- Respiratory Infections: Staph bacteria can cause pneumonia, which may result in symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
- Systemic Infections: In severe cases, staph infections can spread throughout the bloodstream, leading to sepsis, a life-threatening condition.
Common Symptoms and Transmission
The symptoms of a staph infection can vary depending on the type and severity of the infection. However, common signs include fever, pain, redness, swelling, and the presence of pus-filled lesions or wounds.
Staph infections are typically transmitted through direct contact with an infected person’s wounds or contaminated items.
This can include skin-to-skin contact, sharing personal items like towels or razors, or contact with surfaces contaminated by the bacteria.
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How is Staph Infection Transmitted?
Staph infections are primarily transmitted through direct contact with an infected person or contaminated objects. Some of the most common ways staph infections can be transmitted include:
- Touching an infected person’s skin or wounds
- Sharing personal items such as towels, razors, or clothing with an infected person
- Touching objects or surfaces that are contaminated with S. aureus bacteria, such as doorknobs, keyboards, or gym equipment
- Inhaling S. aureus bacteria in the air, particularly in healthcare settings.
Staph infections can also be transmitted through sexual contact or by other means, depending on the type of staph infection you have.
Can Staph Be Transmitted Sexually?
Staph infections are not STIs and are primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact, sharing personal items, and touching contaminated surfaces.
There is limited evidence to suggest that staph infections can be transmitted sexually.
A study was conducted on 550 HIV-infected adults from four US military clinics. The study found that 33% of participants were colonized with S. aureus and 4% with Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
It was noted that the factors associated with the presence of MRSA were partly because of sexually transmitted infections (syphilis, urethritis, and public bath), history of MRSA infection, and ethnicity.
Another study had a different result.
In this study, 173 individuals participated with a mean age of 30.6 years. Out of the total participants, 94 were men, and 162 were African American.
161 participants identified themselves as heterosexual, and 120 reported a history of STDs in the past.
46 subjects reported the use of antibiotics in the past three months, and 25 participants reported a suspected S. aureus infection over the same period.
Culture results indicated that 77 participants were colonized with MSSA, and 12 were colonized with MRSA.
Sexual practices, number of partners, condom use, history of STIs, current STIs, and antibiotic use were not found to be associated with S. aureus colonization.
Nonetheless, practicing safe sex using barrier methods like condoms, communicating openly with partners about any potential health issues, and practicing good hygiene habits like washing hands and cleaning surfaces regularly are advised.
My husband has a staph infection can I get it?
Yes, Staph infections are contagious (spread from one person to another). While some types of staph bacteria are more prone to transmission than others, most staph infections are not highly contagious and don’t easily spread from person to person through casual contact.
However, there are exceptions to this rule, most notably with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
There are several types of Staphylococcus infections that are contagious. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection that most commonly affects children. Staphylococcus aureus causes it, which is characterized by red sores that ooze and crust over.
- Cellulitis is a bacterial infection that affects the skin’s deeper layers and subcutaneous tissues. It is typically characterized by redness, swelling, and warmth in the affected area and can be caused by Staphylococcus aureus or other bacteria.
- Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles caused by Staphylococcus aureus or another type of bacteria. It is distinguished by small, red bumps that form around hair follicles and can be itchy or painful.
- Boils are painful, pus-filled bumps that can form on the skin. They are caused by a Staphylococcus aureus infection of a hair follicle or oil gland.
- Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS) is a rare and serious skin condition that can affect infants and children. A strain of Staphylococcus aureus causes it by producing toxins that cause the skin to peel.
- Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare but potentially fatal condition caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes. It is distinguished by the sudden onset of fever, low blood pressure, a rash, and other symptoms. TSS can affect both men and women, but it is most commonly linked to tampon use.
Therefore, the most notorious way of getting an S. aureus infection is through person-to-person contact. Such as close skin contact and the sharing of objects such as towels and toothbrushes.
Factors Affecting Transmission
Several factors can influence the likelihood of staph infection transmission. These factors include:
- Type of Staph Bacteria: Certain strains of staph, such as MRSA, are more resistant to treatment and can be more contagious. For instance, Paronychia is contagious because it can be contracted by another person when they come in contact with the fluid of the infected person. But it is easily avoidable, the same as food poisoning.
- Physical Contact: Close physical contact, especially with an infected wound or lesion, can increase the risk of transmission.
- Hygiene Practices: Maintaining good personal hygiene, including regular handwashing, can significantly reduce the chances of spreading or acquiring a staph infection.
- Immune System Health: People with weakened immune systems, such as those with chronic illnesses or undergoing immunosuppressive treatments, are more susceptible to infections and may be at a higher risk of transmission.
Is Sepsis Contagious?
Let’s take a little dive into sepsis and see how contagious it is.
Sepsis in itself is not a disease but the body’s response when an infection you already have is so severe and as a result triggers a life-threatening response to that infection.
Looking at this condition holistically, it is obvious that sepsis just like many other S. aureus infections is not contagious to others because it can’t be spread from one person to another person.
However, the consequence of allowing an infection to get to this stage is that it is quite dangerous because it can lead to the failure of some vital organs which will result in death.
And Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of sepsis followed by Escherichia coli and Streptococcus.
How Long is Staph Contagious?
The duration of staph contagiousness varies depending on the type of infection and the treatment administered.
Generally, a person with a staph infection remains contagious as long as there is an active infection. For instance, a person with a staph skin infection can remain contagious until the infection clears up completely.
However, with appropriate treatment, the contagious period can be shortened significantly.
In most cases, treatment involves the use of antibiotics, which can reduce the infectious period by up to 24 hours.
Staph Infection Contagious After Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are frequently prescribed to treat infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus and they can significantly reduce the infectious period.
it is still possible to be contagious after completing a course of antibiotics because the drugs may not completely eliminate the bacteria.
In addition, some Staph can continue to survive on surfaces for extended periods, increasing the risk of transmission.
A study revealed that up to 70% of patients with community-associated MRSA skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) will experience recurrent infections within a year even after successful initial treatment.
According to the study, various factors contribute to the risk of recurrence, including pathogen-level, host-level, and environmental-level variables. The choice of antibiotic prescribed may also influence the incidence of recurrent infection.
The study further revealed that household contacts of patients with MRSA infection may be colonized with MRSA, serving as important sources for ongoing transmission and leading to reacquisition and recurrent infection.
How To Avoid Getting Staph Infection Through Your Husband: Precautions
- On surfaces or materials, the Staph bacterium can survive for up to 24 hours or longer. Therefore, if you are experiencing sores or lesion cuts, you should cover them.
- Don’t expose your wounds to a staph-infected person or materials. A clean bandage can help protect cuts, scrapes, and wounds from becoming infected with Staph.
- You should also wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.
- Avoid close contact with others as well.
- In close living quarters, it’s important to avoid sharing personal items like towels, razors, and clothing. Each person should have their own set of these items to reduce the risk of contamination.
While it’s natural to be concerned when a loved one has a staph infection, the risk of transmission is generally low, and there are practical steps you can take to minimize that risk.
By practicing good hygiene, maintaining cleanliness, and following medical guidance, you can help protect yourself and your family.
Remember, timely treatment and professional advice are crucial in managing staph infections effectively.
My boyfriend has MRSA can I get it
Yes, it is possible for you to get MRSA if your boyfriend has it particularly if you have close contact with his skin or anything that comes into contact with his skin, such as towels or bedding.
Can staphylococcus be transmitted through kissing?
No. But yes when you have an open sore or wound in the mouth or on the face seeing that the bacteria can potentially be transmitted through it. the risk of transmission through kissing is generally considered to be low.
Which hygiene step would best help prevent a staph infection?
The best hygiene step to prevent a staph infection is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water after coming into contact with someone who has a staph infection and also avoid sharing personal items such as razors and towels.
Sharing a bed with someone with MRSA?
Sharing a bed with someone who has MRSA may increase the risk of transmission.
Last Updated on September 13, 2023 by Our Editorial Team