Increasing the use of Herbal Treatment of Staphylococcus aureus infections to prevent life-threatening illness.
By Rachel Ogis Intermediate Student 2011

Staphylococcus aureus bacteria are Gram-positive facultative anaerobes that grow in grape-like clusters and contain a pigment called staphyloxanthin which causes the characteristic golden colour of their infections. They are highly virulent, partially due to the pigment that has an antioxidant action that helps the bacteria evade death. S. aureus occur on the skin and in the noses of healthy people without causing problems. However if the skin becomes punctured Staph bacteria can enter the wound causing a Staph infection.

Staph infections can present in several different ways. Topical infections range from folliculitis and boils, impetigo, cellulitis, and Scalded Skin Syndrome to mere pimples. Internal infections include meningitis, endocarditis, osteomyelitis peuomonia, toxic shock syndrome (TSS), bacteraemia and sepsis. It is one of the five most common causes of nosocomial infections; along with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus MRSA, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP).

Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles where tiny white-headed pimples appear at the base of the hair shafts, sometimes with a red area around each pimple. The infection can flare up on an area where there has been some friction such as after shaving. Folliculitis can worsen into a boil where the Staph infection spreads deeper and wider under the subcutaneous layer of the skin. The head can break and pus, blood or an amber coloured liquid can drain out. Boils can be treaded with warm fomentaions but be sure to either discard or carefully wash the cloths used to prevent Staph from spreading.

Impetigo can occur anywhere on the body. It is often seen in pre-schoolers and young kids especially during the summer months. Impetigo is most often seen arising in one spot where the skin was broken and it becomes an angry blister. The infection can progress to cover the whole

area or other areas with small red dots that eventually form a small white head of pus. These little blisters will grow large in diameter unless treated. The blisters form a crust that is moist and yellow or amber coloured around the edges and bloodied on the top. If the crusts are removed they reform.

Cellulitis is a Staph infection that is uncommon but more serious and occurs in the deeper layers of the skin. It starts with inflammation and redness around a cut or sore and then slowly spreads into nearby tissues. Red lines may connect the infection to nearby lymph nodes, which can also become infected and swell up. This is known as lymphadenitis.

Scaled Skin Syndrome most often affects newborns or pre-schoolers. The illness begins with a localized Staph infection but the Staph bacteria produce a toxin that causes a rash all over the body. It can be accompanied by a fever and the rash can blister. As the blisters burst, the top layer of skin peels off and the skin looks burned and red. Most children with this Syndrome are hospitalized because the infection affects the body the same way as a serious burn would, leaving them susceptible to secondary infections. Most children make a full recovery when treated properly.

MRSA is a type of staphylococcus that is resistant to the beta-lactam antibiotics and cephalosporin's. It can cause more serious problems such as bone infections or pneumonia. Certain kinds of antibiotics given to patients will have an increased chance of secondary infection with MRSA.