About all

Pictures of staph infection on neck: MRSA Bacteria Photo 8 | MRSA

What a MRSA Rash Looks Like

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on June 26, 2022

This tiny cluster of bacteria is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), seen under a microscope. This strain of the common “staph” bacteria causes infections in different parts of the body — including the skin, lungs, and other areas. MRSA is sometimes called a “superbug” because it doesn’t respond to many antibiotics. Though most MRSA infections are minor, some can be life-threatening.

MRSA infections can appear as a small red bump, pimple, or boil. The area may be tender, swollen, or warm to the touch. Most of these infections are mild, but they can change, becoming deeper and more serious. 

Bug bites, rashes, and other skin problems can be confused with MRSA because the symptoms are similar. ER doctors often ask patients who think they have a spider bite whether they saw the spider. These “bites” may turn out to be MRSA. When a skin infection spreads or doesn’t improve after 2-3 days on usual antibiotics, contact your doctor.  

MRSA can also lead to cellulitis, an infection of the deeper layers of skin and the tissues beneath them. Cellulitis can spread quickly over a few hours. The skin looks pink or red, like a sunburn, and may be warm, tender, and swollen. The condition usually affects the legs and arms, but not exclusively.

Skin infections from staph, including MRSA, are prone to forming abscesses. An abscess is a painful lump under the skin that’s filled with pus. Treatment may require surgical drainage and antibiotics.

MRSA is spread by touching an infected person or exposed item when you have an open cut or scrape. It can also be spread by a cough or a sneeze. Poor hygiene — sharing razors, towels, or athletic gear can also be to blame. Two in 100 people carry the bacteria on their bodies, but usually don’t get sick.


People who’ve had recent surgery or a hospital stay are more likely to get MRSA. It’s also seen in older people, those living in nursing homes, and people with weakened immune systems. A chronic disease like diabetes, cancer, or HIV raises your chances of coming down with this stubborn infection. And recent antibiotic use is also a risk.

Hospitals are the main sources of MRSA infections due to the high traffic of ill or wounded patients. They’re working to curb the problem. Efforts include screening patients for MRSA, good hand hygiene, and wearing gloves. It’s paying off — MRSA infections are down an estimated 50% in health care settings. 

Yes. Infections are showing up more in people outside of hospitals. These outbreaks — called community-associated MRSA — are seen at schools, gyms, day care centers and other places where people share close quarters.


It looks like MRSA has jumped from humans to household pets, where it can linger without clear symptoms. Animals can carry the bacteria on their skin and may give it right back to the pet owner or spread it to other animals. 

MRSA has been found in the sand and water at beaches in the U. S. Staph bacteria can live in seawater for several days and reproduce in the sand. A few ways to protect yourself: Cover scrapes before playing in the sand, wash your hands often, shower when you come out of the water, and don’t wear a swimsuit again without washing it.

If you think you have a MRSA skin infection, cover the site with a bandage. Contact a health care provider, who may swab a sample of the area and send it to a lab for testing.

Some infections may only need to be drained, cleaned, and covered at the doctor’s office. Oral antibiotics can treat MRSA, but because it doesn’t respond to many common drugs like methicillin, amoxicillin, penicillin, oxacillin, and cephalorsporins, your doctor may use clindamycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, or linezolid. Invasive MRSA can be treated intravenously with Vancomycin.  

The FDA is fast-tracking new treatments for MRSA. It has approved three new antibiotics in the past few years: Dalvance (dalbavancin) and Orbactiv (oritavancin), which you get through an IV, and Sivextro (tedizolid phosphate), a pill that you take every day.


If drugs are prescribed, it’s important to finish all doses — even if your symptoms fade. Stopping early can cause the infection to come back or allow the MRSA bacteria to become immune to the drugs that still work. Keep the sore covered until it has healed and change the bandages when your doctor’s tells you to. You should also wash any used bedding, towels, and clothes.

MRSA can spread from a small, contained infection to one that involves your internal organs and body systems. It has been linked to pneumonia and bloodstream infections like sepsis. Current estimates for the United States place the number of severe MRSA infections as high as 90,000 with approximately 20,000 deaths per year. 

Frequent hand washing with soap and water and using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer are great ways to avoid MRSA. Wipe down surfaces you come into contact with at the gym and shower promptly after any skin-to-skin contact. Don’t touch other people’s wounds or bandages or share personal items. During a hospital stay, remind staff members to wash their hands before they touch you.


(1)    Photo Courtesy of CDC
(2)    Dr. Kenneth Greer/Visuals Unlimited
(3)    SIU/Visuals Unlimited, Scott Camazine/Phototake
(4)    Dr. P. Marazzi/Photo Researchers Inc
(5)    Scott Camazine/Photo Researchers Inc
(6)    Photo Alto/Eric Audras
(7)    Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
(8)    Pulse Picture Library/Phototake
(9)    Odilon Dimier/PhotoAlto
(10)  Robert Llewellyn/Workbook Stock
(11)  Cappi Thompson/Flickr
(12)  Hank Morgan/Photo Researchers Inc
(13)  Medicimage
(14)  Steve Pomberg / WebMD
(15)  Stock4B
(16)  DAJ, Thinkstock


49th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, San Francisco, Sept. 12-15, 2009.

American Academy of Dermatology web site.

American Academy of Family Physicians.

Andreas Sing, MD, Bavarian Food and Health Safety Authority, Germany.

Capriotti, T. Dermatology Nursing, Jan. 26, 2004.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site.

FDA, FDA Approves Dalvance to Treat Skin Infections

Durata Therapeutics: FDA Approves Durata Therapeutics’ Dalvance for Treatment of Acute Bacterial Skin and Skin Structure (ABSSSI) Caused by Susceptible Gram-Positive Bacteria, Including MRSA, in Adults

Johnson, L. Infections in Medicine, 2005.

Kansas Journal of Medicine, 2008.

Kisgen, J.J., American Journal of Health System Pharmacy, April 2014. Tedizolid: a new oral antimicrobial

Lance Peterson, MD, department of microbiology and infectious diseases research, NorthShore University Health System, Evanston, Ill.

Liu, C. Clinical Infectious Diseases, January 2011.

Marilyn Roberts, PhD, department of environmental and occupational health sciences, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seattle.

The Medicines Company: ORBACTIV™ (oritavancin) for injection

Medscape Reference

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases web site.

Nemours Foundation. Kids Health for Parents web site.

Sing, A. The New England Journal of Medicine, March 13, 2008.

The University of Chicao Medicine MRSA Research Center.

Up to Date web site.


© 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info

Pictures of Skin Infections

Medically Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on February 22, 2023

Like an onion, your skin has layers. When it comes to infections, usually the deeper it is, the worse it can be. The first layer (epidermis) makes cells and gives you color. The second (dermis) makes oils to protect the skin and sweat to cool you. Its nerve endings help you feel heat, cold, and pain. The third layer (subcutaneous fat) attaches skin to muscles and bones, and helps control your temperature.

A cut in your skin — from an injury or surgery, for example — makes it easier for germs to get in, and that can lead to infection. Viruses, bacteria, and fungi can all cause them. Bacteria are living organisms that are all around you. Many are harmless or even good for you, but some can cause problems. Viruses are tiny particles that can only grow inside other living cells. Fungi are living organisms that feed off other living things.

Ones caused by bacteria usually can be cured with antibiotics, though some bacteria have become resistant to the drugs and are harder to kill. Medication or prescription creams can stop most fungal infections, and there are several ways to treat viruses. Your doctor may recommend antiviral medicines, or they might need to remove skin growths. In other cases, your symptoms may go away on their own.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterial infection that antibiotics don’t always stop. It can cause an abscess — pus in your tissue. If you have one, your doctor may drain it and not give you medicine. People who’ve been in a hospital or other facility, like a nursing home, are most likely to get MRSA. Those who often have skin-to-skin contact with others, like wrestlers or child care workers, can get it, too.

This is a serious bacterial skin infection that happens most often on your lower leg, but it can be anywhere on your skin. The area may get swollen, hot, and tender. It can be very serious if it’s in deeper tissue and gets in your bloodstream. If you have red streaks on your skin, fever, chills, and aches, see your doctor right away. In serious cases, you’ll need IV antibiotics — a needle in your hand or arm that puts medicine into a vein.

This is a bacterial infection that’s common in preschool and school-age children. It can cause blisters and sores on the face, neck, hands, or diaper area. It often happens after the skin has been irritated by another problem like a cut, scrape, or rash. It can be cleared up with antibiotics (in ointment, pill, or liquid form).

Also known as flesh-eating bacteria, this is a life-threatening infection that spreads quickly and kills your body’s soft tissue (muscle, fat, and other tissue that connects muscles to bones). If you’re healthy, have a strong immune system, and bathe or shower often, you’re not likely to get it. If you do have it, you’ll need antibiotics put directly into one of your veins, and a surgeon will remove the infected tissue. 

This happens when follicles — tiny pouches of skin that hold the roots of your hair — get inflamed and cause red, itchy, burning skin, tenderness, and pain. It’s usually brought on by bacteria, but fungi and viruses can cause it, too. Folliculitis often goes away on its own, but if it doesn’t, your doctor may give you an antibiotic or antifungal cream.

A boil is a sore that starts as a red, tender bump, gets more painful as it fills with pus, and finally bursts. It happens when bacteria infect one or more hair follicles, often getting in through a cut or insect bite. A carbuncle is a cluster of boils under your skin. A warm washcloth on the area is usually enough to ease pain and help boils drain, but if it’s large, your doctor may make a small cut to let the fluid out.

This is typically linked to sores in the genital area in both men and women, caused by a form of the herpes virus (type 2). Once you’re infected, the virus stays in your body, but it doesn’t always cause sores. Your doctor can give you medicine to control outbreaks. It’s contagious, so you shouldn’t have sex when you have an outbreak. If you do, tell your partner, and use a condom so you’re less likely to pass it on.

The type 1 herpes virus causes these on your lips or mouth, and they can be painful and embarrassing. Most people get the virus as children from contact with people who have it. The virus stays in your body, and sores may break out when you’re sick, anxious, or overtired. They usually go away on their own, but prescription drugs can help control outbreaks.

This virus affects your whole body and is mainly known for its itchy rash. Most of the time, it goes away within a week. It’s very contagious, so if you have it, stay home and rest until it’s gone. Once you’ve had chickenpox, you won’t get it again, but you may have an outbreak of shingles later in life — a painful, itchy rash. Vaccines can make you less likely to get chickenpox and shingles, or make you less sick if you do get one of them.

This virus causes smooth, firm, mounds of skin with a dimple in the center, and you get it from contact with people who have it or things they’ve touched. The itchy, painful sores can show up almost anywhere on your body — as small as a pinhead or as big as a pencil eraser. They usually disappear in 6 to 12 months, but your doctor may give you a cream or suggest office treatments that freeze or scrape the nodules away.

This fungal infection causes red, itchy, ring-shaped rashes on the top layer of your skin. It can show up anywhere on your body, and it’s very contagious. Many types of fungi can cause it, and they’re all around you. They can live on your skin as well as on floors, countertops, clothing, towels, and bedsheets. A number of antifungal creams, sprays, and pills can get rid of the infection, but it sometimes comes back in problem areas.

The same types of fungi that cause ringworm can cause this, too. It often shows up on the bottom of your feet and between your toes, where it’s dark and moist. It can make them itchy, dry, and cracked, and can sometimes cause bleeding. Many locker room floors are covered in it, so use rubber flip-flops at the gym — and clean them often. Keep your feet clean and dry to keep it from coming back.

Tiny creatures can burrow into your skin and feed or lay eggs, which can cause red, irritated, itchy skin. Lice are common parasites, especially in children. They affect the scalp and pass easily from person to person. Other skin parasites are mites (scabies) and hookworm, called “creeping eruption.” Special creams, lotions, or shampoos can get rid of them, and they don’t often cause long-term problems.


1) ttsz / Thinkstock

2) PobladuraFCG / Thinkstock

3) rank600 / Thinkstock

4) Eraxion / Thinkstock

5) SPL / Science Source

6) SCOTT CAMAZINE / Getty Images

7) Dr. Kenneth Greer / Thinkstock

8) Allan Harris / Medical Images

9) Watney Collection / Medical Images

10) Luis  M. de la Maza / Medical Images

11) dabjola / Thinkstock

12) abdone / Thinkstock

13) Dr. P. Marazzi / Science Source

14) alejandrophotography / Getty Images

15) Dr. P. Marazzi / Science Source

16) Eye of Science / Science Source



American Academy of Dermatology: “The layers of your skin,” “Scabies.”

CDC: “Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet,” “Necrotizing Fasciitis: A Rare Disease, Especially for the Healthy,” “Ringworm.”

John Hopkins Medicine: “Parasitic Infections of the Skin.”

Mayo Clinic: “Molluscum Contagiosum,” “Cellulitis,” “Folliculitis,” “Boils and carbuncles,” “Shingles.”

Nemours Foundation: “Impetigo,” “Chickenpox,” “Ringworm.”

Stanford: “Skin and Soft Tissue Infections in the Inpatient Setting.”

© 2023 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info

Staphylococcus in a child – description, causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Infection with dangerous strains of staphylococcus in children is a danger to life and health. Serious pathologies can develop against the background of severe immunodeficiency, with prematurity, immaturity of the child. In the material we talk about the main pathogens, causes, diagnosis and treatment of staphylococcus aureus in children. If you find any alarming symptoms, we recommend that you do not self-medicate, but seek qualified medical help. Doctors of the clinic “Miracle Doctor” in Moscow will conduct a thorough diagnosis and prescribe adequate therapy.

About the disease

Staphylococci are anaerobic spherical bacteria. They cause a large group of diseases, including various skin infections, pneumonia, purulent-necrotic processes in the bones, inflammation of the meninges of the brain and spinal cord, and many others. Gram-positive immobile cocci, that is, those that do not form spores, are always present on the human body, but in order for them to become active, provoking factors, such as a decrease in immunity, are necessary.

It is staphylococcus in children that most often manifests its pathogenicity, since the body has not yet formed a stable defense mechanism. The infection is spread by contact, food, airborne droplets. Infants can become infected through the hands of the mother, medical personnel, underwear, care items. Diagnosis of staphylococcal lesions is quite complicated and requires a high level of professionalism from the doctor. Depending on the affected organ, both a pediatrician and an infectious disease specialist, an ENT, a dermatologist can deal with treatment.

Features of staphylococcal infection at an early age

The detection of bacteria in the body does not mean the development of the disease. The real-life staphylococcus in children is not indicated by a positive analysis, but by the symptoms – purulent mucus, pain at the site of the inflammatory process. The most severe consequences in children are caused by nosocomial strains that are regularly exposed to antibiotics and disinfectants, which makes them especially resistant and more difficult to treat.

All babies under the age of one are at risk, because their immune system is just developing and most often cannot cope with pathogens on its own. So, in infants, secretory immunoglobulin A, which plays an important role in the local defense of the body, is not secreted. Saliva has a weak bactericidal effect, and the mucous membranes and skin are too susceptible.

The risk of staphylococcal infection in children is increased in the following cases:

  • 90,002 premature births;

  • critical body mass;

  • surgery in the first year of life;

  • congenital malformations and pathologies of development;

  • artificial feeding;

  • frequent illnesses;

  • insufficient hygiene care.

Types of pathogens

32 types of staphylococci are known, of which 16 cause infection in humans. The most common strains are:


The bacterium is opportunistic. In most cases, it is found in the armpits, in the groin and in the perineum.

Distinctive feature – super-resistance to antibiotics. With weak immunity, microorganisms can cause damage to almost any organs – the pleura and lungs, skin, membranes of the heart, urethra, stomach, intestines, brain and spinal cord. If untreated, a septic condition develops.


The most dangerous of all types. The bacterium is surprisingly viable: it retains its properties in the cold, under direct sun, when boiled, and is not susceptible to chlorine, alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.

Has the ability to quickly develop resistance to various antibiotics, especially if the dose of the drug and the duration of administration are not observed. It affects any organs, settles in the mouth, on the skin, in the intestines, provoking inflammation and severe complications. Causes exfoliative dermatitis, scalded skin syndrome, boils, tonsillitis, pneumonia, otitis media, conjunctivitis, acute food intoxication.


It is part of the skin flora, also found on the mucous membranes – in the nose, throat, mouth. Almost does not cause diseases. Even the fragile immunity of a newborn child copes with it. Despite the weak infectious potential, it is highly resistant. Among the main causes of damage by a bacterial agent are non-compliance with hygiene rules and contact with an infected person.

Staphylococcus aureus in children is most often manifested by redness and peeling of the skin, which are mistaken for allergies. May cause folliculitis, staphylococcal sycosis, multiple abscesses.


Of all the listed species, it is considered less dangerous. It is extremely rare in children. It affects the mucous membranes of the urinary organs, causes cystitis, urethritis, and kidney inflammation.

Most often diagnosed in females. With untimely treatment, it can provoke infertility.

Symptoms of staphylococcus in children

Since pathogens affect different organs and systems, the manifestations of the infection are very similar to other ailments. In order to identify the disease in time and start treatment, you need to see a doctor and take a bakposev. In addition, the severity of staphylococcus in children is influenced by the following parameters – the body’s defenses, age, type of bacteria and their number in the body.

Please note! The most pronounced reaction from the immune system is observed when infected with Staphylococcus aureus.

According to the ability to develop infection, two forms are distinguished:

  1. Early – after the penetration of bacteria into the body, the first symptoms occur after a few hours. The disease is acute and severe. Children have fever, diarrhea, vomiting. The child refuses to eat, is constantly sleepy, sleeps too much.

  2. Late – the disease makes itself felt on the 3rd-5th day after the ingestion of microbes. First, the skin and mucous membranes are affected. In the absence of timely treatment, the infection penetrates inside and develops in other organs, which provokes a generalized septic lesion.

To summarize all the symptoms of staphylococcus in children:

  • severe toxic syndrome – headaches, fever up to 38 ° C, hyperemia (pathological overflow of blood vessels) or, conversely, blanching of the skin;

  • severe weakness of the body, increased anxiety, groans and cries in sleep;

  • chills, sweating;

  • swelling of the face and eyelids;

  • dry cough, runny nose, redness of the throat;

  • violation of the gastrointestinal tract – heartburn, bloating, belching, constipation or diarrhea, nausea, vomiting;

  • skin lesions that can be caused by increased sensitivity of the child to toxins and enzymes secreted by staphylococcus aureus in the course of its life;

  • rashes on the skin, which can take various forms – pimples, blisters, boils, red spots, carbuncles, phlegmon, pustules, abscesses;

  • lesion of the mucous membranes of the eyes and nose with purulent discharge.

The main diseases that develop with staphylococcus in children


Marked increased fatigue, weakness and drowsiness, refusal to eat, fever, headaches, body aches. The chair becomes more frequent up to 10-20 times a day.

Stools are liquid, with abundant impurities of mucus, sometimes there is blood or pus in the stool. Symptoms are accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Diarrhea is accompanied by rapid dehydration, which is especially dangerous for children under 5 years of age.

Infectious conjunctivitis

The mucous membrane of the eye is irritated, reddens, a pronounced photophobia appears. There is lacrimation and swelling, vesicles appear on the inner eyelid with the release of pus, due to which, after sleep, the eyelids open with difficulty. Greenish-yellow crusts form.


Small blisters with purulent contents form on the skin, which enlarge, burst and leave erosion. Epidemic pemphigus of newborns occurs in the first 10 days of life, the temperature rises. The rash is most often observed in the umbilical region, on the abdomen, buttocks and back. General symptoms are also expressed by loss of appetite, anxiety and sleep disturbance.


Acute purulent inflammation of the sweat glands, which occurs more often in the first month of life, less often – at the age of up to 6 months. Multiple ulcers in the form of fistulas appear on the skin of the head, trunk, arms and legs. After healing, scars remain. When new nodes appear, the child’s health worsens. Body temperature can rise up to 39°C.


In children, the so-called blood poisoning is particularly transient. Among the main symptoms:

Causes of staphylococcus in children

With a decrease in immunity, pathogenic or opportunistic bacteria can enter the body and begin to develop. The result of the vital activity of microbes are toxins that have a negative effect on all internal organs.

A bacterial infection is transmitted to an infant by a carrier, mainly by airborne droplets or contact. Children of the first year can also become infected through the mother’s milk, if she has mastitis, cracks in the nipple, also through the use of mixtures into which cocci fall. Schoolchildren most often become infected through ingestion of infected food – creams, cakes, sour cream, butter, or poorly washed fruits and vegetables.


The mechanism of origin and development of diseases depends on the nature of the infection. If the pathogen penetrates through the skin, mucous membranes, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, umbilical wound, then an inflammatory focus develops with necrosis and suppuration. For example, when a pathogen enters the site of damaged skin, a boil may form. If the infection has penetrated through the oral mucosa, then this provokes a sore throat, stomatitis.

With the spread of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract, ulcerative, catarrhal or necrotic lesions of the stomach and intestinal lining can occur. A severe form of staphylococcus aureus causes blood poisoning. With strong immunity, the penetration of infection into the body is limited to local effects or does not cause disease at all.

Which doctors to contact

It is impossible to make a diagnosis and determine the type of pathogen at home. If there is a suspicion of staphylococcus aureus in a child, then you need to contact a pediatrician as soon as possible. You can make an appointment with us at the clinic at a convenient time.

The doctor will study the anamnesis, take into account complaints, previous circumstances, prescribe tests depending on the symptoms. Upon confirmation of the diagnosis, the doctor will give a referral to a specialist of the appropriate profile. Severe forms of diseases are treated by an infectious disease specialist.

How is staphylococcus diagnosed in children?

To prescribe effective treatment, the doctor prescribes the following tests:

  • blood and urine;

  • PCR – allows you to quickly and accurately find pathogens by detecting any DNA and RNA;

  • ELISA (enzymatic immunoassay) – allows you to determine specific antibodies to the pathogen;

  • mucosal smear, skin scraping, fecal analysis (depending on the location of the disease).

Laboratory analysis necessarily includes determining the sensitivity of the isolated culture or cultures to antibiotics.

Detection of staphylococcus in the feces of children

When staphylococcus is found in the feces of children, parents often panic and demand that their child be treated. However, bacteria in faecal crops without symptoms of any diseases do not pose a danger to health and life.

Staphylococcus can live in opportunistic flora without being harmful. Another thing is if bacteria begin to multiply in atypical conditions of their existence, for example, in a wound, then suppuration will occur. This means that treatment is required only if the child has the appropriate symptoms.


Tactics of treatment of staphylococcal infection in children depends on the type of pathogen, the form and extent of the lesion, manifestations and immune status. The doctors of the medical center “Miracle Doctor” have more than 20 years of experience in dealing with such diseases, so they guarantee the selection of effective individual therapy.

Basic infection control:

  • antiseptics for treating skin and mucous membranes;

  • antipyretics above 38°C;

  • antibiotics, depending on the location of the pathological focus, in the form of tablets, ointments or injections.

Prevention of staphylococcus in newborns

To reduce the risk of infection in an infant, you need to follow simple rules:

  1. Before feeding and care, the mother must wash her hands.

  2. It is required to treat even minor cuts, abrasions and wounds with antiseptics.

  3. If someone wants to pick up a child, they should also ask that person to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water.

  4. Contact your pediatrician if you have any suspicious symptoms that may indicate an infection.

In the complex treatment of staphylococcal infections in children, the main task is to influence the pathogen, that is, to eliminate the cause, without which the disease would not have developed at all. Carefully observe the general condition of the child. The main reasons to show the baby to the doctor: refusal of milk, formula, fever, crying for no reason, loose stools.

“Scary beast” staphylococcus / “My baby and me”

September 2010

Natalia Rubina; consultants: Irina Perren, head of the pediatric department of the European Medical Center; Natalya Taran, neonatologist, candidate of medical sciences, researcher I employee of the scientific advisory department of the 1st Research Institute of Nutrition of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences

Immediately after birth, the baby faces a very dangerous enemy – Staphylococcus aureus. How to recognize a staph infection and, if possible, avoid it?

The story of one mother

On the 12th day after being discharged from the maternity hospital, Olesya discovered that her little daughter’s eyes were swollen and began to fester, and redness appeared on her buttocks. At the same time, the baby did not stop crying. The district doctor examined the girl and suggested that the redness on her skin was the result of errors in her mother’s diet. Olesya went on a severe diet. However, after another two weeks, some rashes appeared around the child’s mouth, the skin began to desperately peel off, and Olesya herself had cracks on the nipples, her chest became hard and very painful, her temperature jumped.

At the children’s polyclinic, she was asked to have her breast milk tested. A couple of days later, its results became known – epidermal and Staphylococcus aureus were found in milk. The district doctor insisted on stopping breastfeeding and prescribed a mixture. Olesya and her daughter took antibiotics for a month. At the same time, she continued to express milk, not giving it to the child. During this month, the baby became noticeably better, and there was no need to give her medication. The second analysis of milk showed the presence of only epidermal staphylococcus in it, but the doctor still insisted on the abolition of breastfeeding. Then Olesya decided to seek advice from another doctor, and he assured her that the presence of any type of staphylococcus in milk is not dangerous for the child. When Olesya’s daughter was 2 months old, she was again eating exclusively her mother’s milk.

We asked neonatologist Natalya Taran to comment on this situation: “Most likely, the girl contracted a staphylococcal infection at the maternity hospital, and after discharge, the disease turned into an active form. And already from the child, through the cracks in the nipples, the mother also became infected. Those rashes on the skin, which the local doctor took as the result of malnutrition of the mother, most likely were also caused by a staphylococcal infection. At the same time, it is strange that the doctor did not pay any attention to the symptoms of conjunctivitis. After all, it can also be caused by staphylococcus aureus. Purulent discharge from the eyes had to be analyzed to identify the pathogen. But the doctor clearly overdid it, abolishing breastfeeding. If a mother receives antibiotics against a staphylococcal infection, then the child receives treatment against the disease with milk. Breastfeeding is canceled in the only case – if the mother has purulent mastitis. But the child will not drink milk with purulent discharge on his own. It’s good that my mother was not at a loss and, feeling doubts, she turned to another specialist for additional advice.”

Staphylococci are a whole genus of bacteria. Today, many types of staphylococcus are known, many of which live on the skin and mucous membranes of a person, as well as in the intestines. Most staphylococci are absolutely harmless, only three members of this family can cause disease – epidermal, saprophytic and golden staphylococci. And the last one is the most dangerous. The body of a healthy person can easily cope with staphylococcus aureus. However, if for some reason immunity decreases, staphylococcus goes on the attack, causing various diseases. This microbe can also enter the body where the integrity of the skin is broken (in a woman in labor, for example, through cracks in the nipples, and in a newborn, through the umbilical wound).

Acquaintance with staphylococcus aureus is possible immediately after birth – a baby can get this bacterium passing through the birth canal or from the mother’s skin as soon as she puts it to the breast for the first time. Most children easily cope with the microbe, but in premature babies and those born with reduced immunity due to complications during pregnancy, staphylococcus aureus can cause various diseases.


In both children and adults, a distinction is made between early and late forms of staphylococcal infection. The early one manifests itself within a few hours after the bacteria enters the body, the disease begins acutely and severely – the temperature rises sharply, diarrhea and vomiting may begin, the child becomes lethargic, loses appetite. Tellingly, in infants, all infections begin with such symptoms. Therefore, do not even try to make a diagnosis yourself, and when the first signs of the disease appear, consult a doctor. The late form of staphylococcal infection appears after 3-5 days. As a rule, the infection primarily affects the skin and, if not treated on time, can go deeper, affecting the internal organs, and even cause sepsis.

However, in some cases, the disease is asymptomatic or with minor pustular skin lesions. So, if you notice any rashes on the child’s skin, do not rush to write them off as errors in your diet or prickly heat – show them to the doctor. If the doctor suspects that they are infectious in nature, he will prescribe the necessary tests to identify the pathogen. As a rule, in such cases, skin scrapings and a complete blood count are made, which will show whether the child is sick.

Asymptomatic carriage in an adult is extremely dangerous for others – after all, a person does not know that he is sick and does not take any measures, being a source of infection. At the same time, in the body of a sick person, the amount of staphylococcus increases sharply, and its pathogenic properties increase. Since staphylococcal infection is transmitted by contact, it can be contracted by simply touching the patient.

“In the body of a child whose immunity is weakened for certain reasons, the balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria is disturbed, and Staphylococcus aureus can begin to multiply actively,” says Irina Perrin, a pediatrician at the European Medical Center. – But I want to emphasize: even if staphylococcus aureus is found in the tests, but there is no clinical picture of the disease (the child feels well, gains weight), then no medical treatment is required. Treat the patient, not the tests.

You need to sound the alarm if the child has signs of a bacterial infection: fever, loss of appetite, decreased weight gain, pustules on the skin, inflammation of the umbilical ring, diarrhea, etc. In this case, you should immediately consult a doctor who will prescribe necessary treatment.”


Staphylococcal infection causes many different diseases in newborns. All of them are extremely dangerous, so if you find the first symptoms, consult a doctor.


Signs of disease

Frequent (up to 15 times a day) mushy, slimy, watery mortar, the child cries, often burps, his tummy is swollen. A high temperature may rise and vomiting may begin. The latter is especially dangerous for babies, as it leads to rapid dehydration.


Hospitalization required. As soon as you notice the first symptoms, call your doctor as soon as possible. In the meantime, the doctor is traveling, make up for the lack of fluid in the child’s body – every 10 minutes, give him a tablespoon of water.

Folk remedies – they can only be used in parallel with treatment in the hospital or after discharge.

  • Calendula flower infusion: 1 tsp. flowers in a glass of water. Give your baby a little in between feedings.
  • Infusion of chamomile flowers: 1 tbsp. l. dry flowers pour a glass of boiling water, boil for 5 minutes, leave for 4 hours, strain. Give 1 tsp. after feeding.

A decoction of pomegranate peels: take 20 g of dry peels or 50 g of pomegranate seeds, pour a glass of water, simmer for 30 minutes, strain. Give to drink 1 tsp. 2 times a day.


Signs of illness

The child is crying, his eyes are reddened, swollen and watery, pus is released from them, yellow-green crusts are formed. After sleep, the eyelashes are glued together with pus so that the baby can hardly open his eyes.


The doctor prescribes. It is necessary to pass the discharge from the eyes to the laboratory for analysis in order to identify the causative agent of the disease and choose the right antibiotic.

Folk remedies

  • Clean baby’s eyelids with breast milk. However, this remedy is not suitable if staphylococcus aureus is found in the mother’s milk analysis.
  • Wipe the child’s eyes with cotton swabs soaked in tea leaves (a strong solution of black tea).
  • Boil one teaspoon of honey in a glass of water for 2 minutes. When the honey water has cooled down, eye lotions are made from it 2 times a day for 20 minutes. The same water is dripped into the eyes 2-3 drops 2 times a day.
  • One teaspoon of calendula flowers pour a glass of boiling water, leave for 30-40 minutes, then strain thoroughly. Rinse the eyes of the child with the resulting solution several times a day.


Signs of disease

On the skin (in the lower abdomen, in the folds of the neck, on the back), a lot of bubbles with cloudy contents form. The skin in these places is edematous, reddened. The child is lethargic and refuses to eat.


Medicines are prescribed only by a doctor. As a rule, this is a course of antibiotics.

Folk remedies

  • Wipe the blisters with a cotton swab dipped in camphor oil (up to 4-5 times a day).


Signs of disease

Purple-red pustules appear on the skin, which open with the release of yellow-green pus. The child has a fever, he is lethargic or, conversely, capricious.


At the first sign of disease, consult a doctor.


According to the course of the disease, septicemia and septicopyemia are distinguished. Septicemia begins rapidly with the development of jaundice, rapid weight loss, tachycardia. The child is restless and may have seizures. Septicopyemia begins with the appearance of pustules on the skin, sometimes abscesses develop. With umbilical sepsis, the umbilical wound becomes inflamed, the skin around is edematous, red.


Treatment is prescribed by a doctor. As a rule, these are broad-spectrum antibiotics, stimulating therapy – blood transfusion, plasma injection, vitamins.

Nona Hovsepyan, Medical Consultant, Independent Laboratory “INVITRO

In order to determine the presence of staphylococcus, as well as other harmful bacteria in breast milk, it is necessary to inoculate milk for microflora and Staphylococcus aureus with the determination of sensitivity to antibiotics. For analysis, breast milk is expressed into a sterile test tube or jar (you can purchase them at a pharmacy or laboratory). Before decanting, the hands and mammary glands must be treated with soap, the areola of the nipples should be wiped with 70% alcohol (each breast is treated with a separate swab).

The first portion (5-10 ml) of the test is not used, it is decanted into a separate container, and the second (10 ml) – into a sterile container for analysis. Milk from the left and right breasts must not be mixed, it must be collected in separate containers. For an accurate analysis result, no more than 3 hours should elapse between expressing milk and delivering it to the laboratory.

In parallel with determining the quantity and quality of bacteria in milk, their resistance to antibiotics and bacteriophages is studied, this is necessary for the correct selection of a drug for the treatment of staphylococcal infection.

If a staphylococcal infection is suspected in a newborn, it is necessary to examine the feces for pathogenic and opportunistic microflora. The material for this analysis is feces after natural defecation, which must be collected in a disposable container and delivered to the laboratory as soon as possible (within 3 hours). In order for the results to be more reliable, it is recommended to conduct a 2-3-fold study at intervals of 1-2 days.

Staphylococcus aureus can cause bronchitis, pneumonia and a number of other inflammatory diseases of the respiratory system. In such a situation, sowing is taken from the pharynx and nose in order to identify Staphylococcus aureus. All patients, including the smallest, take this analysis strictly on an empty stomach, and adults should not brush their teeth before this analysis (since the true picture may be distorted).

The culture is taken with a special probe, which is then placed in a special medium for bacterial growth.

In case of conjunctivitis, it is advisable to take the material for analysis in the morning before washing. In the presence of abundant purulent discharge, a sterile swab is used. Pus is collected from the inner surface of the lower eyelid by moving from the outer to the inner corner of the palpebral fissure. At the same time, the eyelids must be held with your hands so that when blinking, the eyelashes do not touch the tampon. If there is a small amount of pus, then the tampon is pre-moistened with distilled water.

For skin diseases caused by staphylococcus, it is necessary to take a skin scraping or examine the discharge from the wound for the presence of Staphylococcus aureus. To do this, treat the skin around the wound with an antiseptic or a cotton swab moistened with 70% ethyl alcohol. Necrotic (dead) masses and pus are removed with a sterile gauze napkin, then, with the help of a special cotton swab, the discharge from the wound is taken.

“Hospital” infection

A staphylococcal infection is called hospital or maternity. In patients of these institutions, immunity is usually weakened, and staphylococcus against this background goes on the attack. However, in order for the infection to become widespread, it must have a focus – a sick person. It can be someone from the staff, one of the women in labor or a sick child. The mechanism of transmission of infection is simple – through the hands. For example, the carrier of the infection is a nurse in a maternity hospital. She has small pustules on her skin, which she did not attach due importance to. Swaddling or treating a newborn without disposable gloves, this nurse immediately infects him. Or if a child is sick, and the nurse took him in her arms, then she is already infected. And it can pass the infection to the next baby with whom it comes into contact.

To prevent outbreaks of infection from the hands of medical staff, from furniture and equipment, swabs are regularly made – the epidemiological service treats them with a special solution, and then examines it for the presence of various bacteria, simultaneously determining the degree of their pathogenicity. For the same purpose, maternity hospitals are closed twice a year for washing (and, of course, this is done unscheduled as soon as an infection is detected). At the same time, all surfaces, including the ceiling, are treated with disinfectant solutions that destroy staphylococcus bacteria. Therefore, when choosing a maternity hospital, ask when was the last time it was closed for washing. If it was a few months ago, maybe it makes sense to go to another maternity hospital.

Is milk safe?

The main “gateway” for a staphylococcal infection in a woman is cracked nipples. Therefore, as soon as they appear, they must be immediately treated with aniline solutions, to which staphylococcus is very sensitive – brilliant green, fucorcin or methylene blue. At the same time, it is necessary to breastfeed the baby, using special linings on the nipples (including to relieve pain). It is not necessary to wash the mammary glands with soap before each feeding, it is quite enough to take a shower twice a day. Frequent washing dries out the skin, and this, in turn, contributes to the appearance of new cracks in the nipples, where infection can penetrate.

If the fissure is sharply painful, inflamed, a seal appears around it, and pus is released from the chest, then we may be dealing with a staphylococcal infection. In this case, the doctor may recommend that you donate breast milk for analysis. However, if you just have cracks, this is not a reason to run with milk for analysis. For this, there must be symptoms of inflammation (sharp throbbing pain in the chest and purulent discharge). In any case, you should come for an examination to a doctor who will determine what is wrong with you and help you cope with cracks faster.

If an epidermal staphylococcus is found in the analysis of milk, most likely, the analysis was taken incorrectly, and the microbe got there from the skin. If Staphylococcus aureus is found in milk, then with a high probability it can be argued that it is also in the blood of a woman. And this is already a serious situation that cannot proceed asymptomatically – there must be manifestations of a bacterial infection (high temperature, weakness).

But it is important to remember that the presence of any kind of staphylococcus in milk (if the woman does not have purulent mastitis) is not a reason to stop breastfeeding. In this case, the woman will need to undergo a course of antibiotic treatment, which is allowed during lactation, which, getting to the baby with breast milk, at the same time protect him from infection.


Only a doctor should make a diagnosis, let alone prescribe treatment for a staphylococcal infection. As a rule, antibiotics of the penicillin series and bacteriophages (microorganisms that selectively infect bacterial cells) are prescribed.

The most common mistake moms make is self-treatment. As soon as you or your child has pustular skin rashes, high fever, diarrhea or vomiting, loss of appetite, contact your doctor immediately.

The biggest mistake doctors make is overestimating the gravity of the situation. If you think that your doctor is playing it safe, for example, by canceling breastfeeding, do not be too lazy to seek additional advice from another specialist.


Staphylococcus aureus was found in the feces of a child, while there are symptoms of normal dysbacteriosis (small stool disturbance, regurgitation, mild anxiety). Is it necessary to treat staphylococcus aureus? And in this case, what to do in general?

NATALYA TARAN: Staphylococcus does not cause dysbacteriosis. The reason for the appearance of staphylococcus in the analysis is most likely that it (the analysis) was not collected correctly, and the microbe got there from the skin. So, first of all, such an analysis must be retaken (see above). And then look for and eliminate the cause of dysbacteriosis.


Discharge from the maternity hospital with the baby home as soon as possible, of course, if the doctors do not mind.