A staph infection is a form of infection that is triggered by staphylococcus aureus. The staph bacteria is usually present on the skin and mucous membranes but also has the potential to trigger a serious condition, especially if the individual is at high risk with a compromised or weakened immune system. Once the child sustains a wound or cut on his/her knee and does not heal properly, it might be an indication of a staph infection.
What are the causes?
It is common for children to end up with cuts or scrapes on the knees during childhood. Most cases of minor skin injuries heal on their own once they develop an infection, thus medical care is needed.
One of the main causes of staph infections is the invasion of the bacteria into the wound in the skin. The bacteria can be found on various surfaces and survive in high extremes of temperature, dryness and using certain types of soaps.
The staph bacteria can also spread from one individual to another. Remember that the staph can also spread via inanimate objects including clothes, towels as well as solid surfaces until it comes in contact with the mucous membranes or the skin. The staph bacteria are present on the skin but once allowed to enter via a wound, particularly on the knee, the indications of infection will surely manifest.
How to identify staph
There are different forms of skin infections that are caused by staph which includes boils, cellulitis, impetigo and scalded skin syndrome. In case the wound on the knee turns inflamed, red, painful, swollen or drains pus, it is an indication of a staph infection.
Once the child has an infection on his/her knee due to impetigo, he/she will end up with sore rashes or blisters that drain fluid and have a crusted layer. As for cellulitis, it develops if a staph infection due to a cut is severe. This skin condition affects the deep skin layers which results to swelling and redness around the affected area.
What is MRSA?
MRSA or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus is also a form of staph infection but considered serious due to its resistance to most forms of antibiotics. MRSA can develop in any wound including a minor cut on the knee. Once a child has a weakened immune system, being hospitalized or under cancer therapy, his/her ability to fight off the bacteria can be disrupted.
The complications of MRSA often affect the lungs, bone or the heart. The symptoms might include fatigue, fever, malaise, chest pain, rashes, headache and shortness of breath along with the reddened and swollen area in and surrounding the wound. In addition, there is difficulty walking on the affected leg.
The treatment for a staph infection in the knee often involves a course of strong antibiotics. Most cases of staph infections respond well to antibiotic treatment. In case the infection is severe, surgery might be required to take out the infected bone and tissue in the knee area.
Always bear in mind that severe cases of MRSA infections might require drainage of the infected knee and the surrounding area. Combinations of antibiotic treatments are utilized in eliminating the infection. The administration of intravenous fluids and medications can be given in the hospital along with oxygen to help the child breathe easier and fight off the infection.