Staph Infection: Risk Factors
Certain people are at greater risk of getting staph infections, particularly if they have medical conditions that weaken their immune systems. Consequently, individuals with chronic conditions, such as cancer, lung or vascular diseases, or diabetes are at increased risk.
Furthermore, hospital patients who undergo surgeries or medical procedures (e.g., dialysis) face greater susceptibility, especially if their care requires the use of invasive devices (urinary or intravascular catheters, feeding tubes or breathing intubators), which can encourage microbial growth and allow staph bacteria to enter the body.
Factors that increase a person’s risk of developing a staph infection include:
- being elderly or newborn
- having a long-term health condition, such as diabetes, cancer, or HIV/AIDS
- having an open wound
- using a catheter or IV
- having a burn or skin abrasion
- managing an active skin condition, such as a leg ulcer, psoriasis, or eczema (atopic dermatitis)
- having undergone a recent surgical procedure
- receiving frequent courses of antibiotics
Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
It is estimated that half of all people with eczema, especially those with hand involvement, also carry S. aureus on their skin. In addition, research has shown that this strain of staph bacteria can also affect the severity and persistence of eczema, as well as decrease the effectiveness of some medications that are used for treatment.