Normally, Staphylococcus bacteria live within you without causing any type of harm. They can stay there for a long time – weeks, months, or even years – without the person even being aware of their presence. This is until some facts about Staph infection after surgery are revealed.
Staphylococci are opportunistic and sneaky in nature. They take action by remaining in a part of the body, such as the skin and wait for the right opportunity to infect its host. One of the opportunities they take advantage of is the presence of open wounds. It is a well known fact that open wounds and surgery are always associated with each other. That is why Staph infection after surgery can happen.
The Staph bacteria use the open wound as a gateway to help them enter the body, infecting the person during the process. Also, the most common causative agent of Staph infection, Staphylococcus aureus, is commonly acquired in hospital settings further makes surgery a major risk factor for being infected by Staph bacteria. Staph infection after surgery can also be triggered by poor hygiene during the operating procedure.
Poor hygiene can mean either one of the following consequences:
- The incision area was not properly cleaned or prepped prior to contact with the cutting instrument.
- The cutting instruments’ sterility has been compromised by either being contaminated by anything unsterile or not being properly sterilized.
- The entire operating room is infected by Staph bacteria.
Staph infection after surgery is characterized by the following clinical manifestations:
- Fever, which is usually the very first sign of infection. This problem usually persists even before the surgery is done. Chills and diaphoresis may also be present.
- Digestive problems that are usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach. These symptoms may also be indicative of possible toxic shock syndrome.
- Pain within or around the surgical site is another common characteristic of Staph infection after surgery. Pus-filled surgical wound blisters and leaking may also be noticed.
- Finally, the most life-threatening is internal organ damage since the bacteria will enter the blood, causing sepsis, and can also potentially invade the bones, heart, and lungs.