Immediate Release

Friday, October 24, 2008

Students Cautioned About Skin Infections

     Parents and students should be aware of the threat of skin infections, commonly caused by Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria that can easily be spread from one person to another in a school setting, Oneida County Health Department officials said today.

     “We see an increase in these types of infections during the school year, often among students who participate in organized sports,” Nicholas A. DeRosa, Director of Health said. “Parents and students should be advised that there are precautionary steps to take to prevent this type of infection.”

     Staphylococcus bacteria occurs naturally in the environment, often on the skin. When the bacteria gets under the skin through a cut or scrape it may cause an infection that resembles a pimple or boil.  Most staph infections are minor and can be treated with antibiotics. Staph infections are not uncommon in hospital or nursing home settings among patients with weakened immune systems, but are occurring increasingly among otherwise healthy persons in the wider community, including schools. These community-associated infections often occur among students participating in school athletics.   

     DeRosa said the best means of protecting against a staph infection is to practice good hygiene:

·         Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

·         Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.

·         Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages

·         Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.

·         Athletes should shower after every practice and competition.

·         Athletic clothing and equipment should be properly cleaned after every practice and competition.

    Parents should monitor their child for cuts, scrapes or rashes. If a skin infection is suspected your healthcare provider should be contacted and your child’s school should be notified of a suspected skin infection or an infection that has been treated.

    For more information on Staphylococcus aureus infections contact the Oneida County Health Department at 798-5747 or visit our web site at (click on Health Department).