Dear Doctor: Understanding Staph

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No one wants to be stricken with an infection, especially a staph infection. In our ongoing “Dear Doctor” series, Dr. Thomas Murphy weighs in. Dr. Murphy is the Assistant Dean, Medical School, UT Health and Chief Medical Officer UT Physician community based clinics.

Dear Doctor:
What is staph?

Dear Patient:
Twenty-five percent of healthy people carry Staphylococcus, or staph. It is a bacterium that can be found in the mouth, nose, or genital area. Staph becomes an issue when a cut, scrape, or other wound is infected with staph.

These infections are usually treated with antibiotics. However, some of these can be very serious and even affect the bloodstream, resisting medications. Those with weakened immune systems or diabetes are at risk for developing one type of staph infection known as cellulitis, which affects deeper layers of the skin.

Boils and unusual swelling of the skin should be taken seriously, especially any that accompany fever. Keeping wounds covered and clean will help prevent infection and spread of staph.

As a precaution, consult a doctor when in doubt and especially when symptoms appear.

For information or to schedule an appointment with a doctor at UT Physicians Cinco Ranch call 713-486-5300 or visit

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