How Long Does Staph Live on Surfaces?

By Megan Smith

What is a Staph Infection?

A staph infection is an accumulation of the staphylococcus bacteria. The staph bacteria can be found in the nose and on the skin of healthy individuals, but when staph enters your bloodstream through open sores or cuts in the skin, or through the urinary tract, staph infections can be dangerous. Staph infects can usually be treated with antibiotics, but in some cases, individuals with weakened immune systems may be hospitalized and could die.

How Long Does Staph Live on Surfaces?

Staphylococcus bacteria can be transferred to almost any surface that is touched. For example, if a person uses a towel on his face and there is staph bacteria in his nose, there will likely be staph bacteria on the towel. Staph bacteria will live for as little as a few hours, and as long as months on a surface that has been contaminated. Porous surfaces, like sponges or towels, harbor more staph bacteria for a longer amount of time than a flat, hard surface like a countertop. Surfaces that aren't cleaned regularly are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria like staph.

Ways to Prevent Staph Infections

Staph infections can be prevented by not touching surfaces that could be infected with staph. Avoid using public showers without flip-flops if you have a cut or open sore on your feet. Avoid using hand towels or sharing towels with someone if you have any cuts on your body. Keep any sores, cuts or wounds clean by keeping them covered. Not only will this help your cut heal faster and keep out bacteria, but it will keep a staph infection from spreading from your wound to someone else. Disinfect all surfaces in your home with antibacterial spray or wipes, and throw out cleaning and kitchen sponges after one month.

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