Staph infections are caused by a bacterium called staphylococcus aureus. The staph bacterium is found on the skin and in the nose of approximately 20 percent of the population. It can be carried by healthy individuals without the infection causing illness. Infection by staph typically occurs when there is a break in the skin. Staph infection can be responsible for conditions ranging from mostly benign to life-threatening. It can be responsible for pimples, boils, pneumonia, meningitis and endocarditis, among other conditions. One particularly frustrating possibility for staph suffers is recurring staph infections.
Surgery and illness significantly tax the resources of the body, rendering it unable to completely fight off the infection. The symptoms may disappear for a time, only to reappear when the remaining bacteria reproduce.
Stress, particularly chronic stress, can compromise the immune system, leaving it unable to fend off staph infections, even with the aid of antibiotics.
Staph infections can be of varying degrees of virulence. If an infection is particularly virulent, a standard dosage of antibiotics may be insufficient to kill the bacteria.
Since the introduction of antibiotics, resistant strains of staph have developed. If the infection is caused by a resistant strain, it may recur until the appropriate antibiotic is administered.
Recurring staph infections may not be recurring at all, but rather a case of reinfection. Reinfection can occur from using the same towels, washcloths, or wearing the same clothing. Reinfection can also be caused by exposure to a staph carrier.