How does a staph infection become serious?
Serious staph infections rarely develop, however, they can happen when S. aureus enters the bloodstream through breaks in the skin. Elderly individuals or people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses (such as cancer, HIV-AIDS, lung or vascular diseases, or diabetes) have a greater risk for developing staph infections. Through the release of toxins by the staph bacteria, infections can become serious or even life-threatening when the blood, bones, central nervous system, heart, joints, or the lungs are affected.
Hospital patients who undergo surgeries or medical procedures (e.g., dialysis) face greater risk of serious staph infections. Consequently, healthcare workers are trained in limiting the risk of infections by sterilization procedures, frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers.