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How to Treat A Staph Infection Without Antibiotics

By Paul Dohrman ; Updated July 27, 2017

Staphylococcus aureus bacteria is so common that it can be found in the noses or on the skin of 3 of 10 people at a given time. Infections usually don’t occur though until the bacterium enters through a wound, which is why staph infection is one of the most common causes of skin infection in the U.S., according to the CDC. These infections are usually benign, causing only minor skin infections such as boils and pimples. Though antibiotics are highly recommended for such an infection, caught early enough they may not be necessary.

  1. Seek out a doctor’s help, even if you don’t want to take antibiotics. The sooner you receive treatment, the better. If you wait too long, you might have to take antibiotics. Indicate to the doctor that avoiding antibiotics is your wish.

  2. Express to the doctor your interest in alternative methods, such as having the infected area lanced. While it is possible for you to lance such an infection on your own, a doctor will have a better sense of proper timing and technique to reduce the chance of spreading the infection.

  3. Soak the sores in warm water for 15 minutes twice a day.

  4. Use paper towels when drying the infection. Cloth towels shared with others can easily spread the infection. Porous substances like cloth tend to spread infection more than hard surfaces.

  5. Regularly replace the dressing. To prevent it from spreading elsewhere on your body or to others, it is important to keep the infection covered. It may continue to ooze for a few days, so replace the dressing as often as needed.

  6. Tip

    If your motivation for avoiding antibiotics is because you don’t want to contribute to the problem of antibiotic-resistant staph, there is a way to receive antibiotics sensibly. Namely, insist that the doctor have a lab test performed on a sample of your infection, to see what antibiotics fully kill it off. Then you’ll know in advance that the medication will fully kill off your infection and not do a half-complete job that leaves an antibiotic-resistant infection to take over.

    Wash all linens that the infected person has used with bleach. Use the hot water and hot dryer settings, running the dryer for at least half an hour.

    Emphasize disinfectants over sanitizers when cleaning surfaces. Keep the surface soaked with disinfectant for at least a minute.

    Household bleach can be used as a disinfectant as a last resort. It should first be diluted 40 times, i.e. half a cup to a gallon of water.

    Hand sanitizers should have a 62% alcohol content to combat staph.

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