Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Treatment of a staph infection may include:
- Antibiotics. Your doctor may perform tests to identify what type of staph bacteria is behind your infection, to help choose the antibiotic that will work best. Antibiotics sometimes prescribed to treat staph infections include cephalosporins, nafcillin or related antibiotics, sulfa drugs or intravenous vancomycin. Vancomycin increasingly is required to treat serious staph infections because so many strains of staph bacteria have become resistant to other traditional medicines. But vancomycin is effective for staph infections only when it's given intravenously.
- Wound drainage. If you have a skin infection, your doctor may make an incision into the sore to drain fluid that has collected there.
- Device removal. If your infection involves a device or prosthetic, prompt removal of the device is needed. For some devices, removal might require surgery.
Staph bacteria are very adaptable, and many varieties have become resistant to one or more antibiotics. For example, less than 10 percent of today's staph infections can be cured with penicillin. Up to half the staph bacteria found in hospitals are resistant to cephalosporins and nafcillin, other common antibiotics.
The emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of staph bacteria — often described as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains — has led to the use of stronger and more-toxic antibiotics, such as vancomycin. A few strains of staph bacteria have become resistant to vancomycin, too.
- Ogle JW, et al. Infections: Bacterial & spirochetal. In: Hay Jr. WW, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 20th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=6590808. Accessed May 5, 2011.
- Que Y, et al. Staphylococcus aureus (including staphylococcal toxic shock). In: Mandell GL, et al. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/linkTo?type=bookPage&isbn=978-0-443-06839-3&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06839-3..00195-8. Accessed May 5, 2011.
- Endocarditis. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/endo/endo_all.html. Accessed May 5, 2011.
- Lowy FD. Staphylococcal infections. In: Fauci AS, et al. Harrison's Online. 17th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2870999. Accessed May 9, 2011.
- Archer GL. Staphylococcal infections. In: Goldman L. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/linkTo?type=bookPage&isbn=978-1-4160-2805-5&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2805-5..50315-3 Accessed May 9, 2011.
- Baddour LM. Cellulitis and erysipelas. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 9, 2011.
- Staphylococcal food poisoning. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/staphylococcus_food_g.htm. Accessed May 9, 2011.
- Fowler VG, et al. Complications of staphylococcus aureus bacteremia. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 9, 2011.
- Kirkland EB, et al. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and athletes. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2008;59:494.
- Sepsis and septic shock. The Merck Manuals: Home Edition for Patients and Caregivers. http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/sec17/ch191/ch191c.html. Accessed May 9, 2011.
- Staphylococcus aureus (SA): Antibiotic resistance (general). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. http://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/nih1/diseases/activities/activity5_vrsa-database.htm. Accessed May 9, 2011.
- Personal prevention of MRSA skin infections. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/prevent/personal.html. Accessed May 9, 2011.
- Liu C, et al. Clinical practice guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America for the treatment of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infections in adults and children. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2011;52:1.