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What Are the Pros and Cons of Antibiotics for Staph?

Medical professionals now err on the side of prescribing antibiotics only when absolutely necessary.
Antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills.
The initial treatment for most severe MRSA infections is IV vancomycin.
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  • Written By: M. Walker
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2014
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There are several main advantages and disadvantages of using antibiotics for staph infections, which can range in severity and tractability. The main advantages include effective treatment and safety, and the main disadvantages include potential antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), as well as side effects from the antibiotics. Individuals should consult their doctors before beginning any treatments for a staph infection.

Many antibiotics for staph have been used to successfully treat infections. For minor staph infections, such as skin infections, a simple cream containing three main antibiotics will be prescribed. More severe infections will require intravenous (IV) antibiotics for staph treatment. Some forms of staph are resistant to antibiotics, but this course of treatment has been incredibly effective for certain strains where other treatments have failed. Antibiotics for staph are good for stopping the growth of an infection before it has a chance to spread or become more severe.

One of the main drawbacks of antibiotic treatment for a staph infection is the growing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Although penicillin was the most common staph infection treatment, since the 1980s the bacteria have shown an increasing resistance to this antibiotic, necessitating stronger medications. Approximately 50% of staph infections are now resistant to the standard antibiotics used in treatment. The widespread use of antibiotics by society in general, not just in staph infection treatment, has led to this large increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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MRSA infections are also a drawback to using antibiotics for staph, as they are not responsive to this treatment method. The main antibiotics, such as penicillin, oxacillin, amoxicillin, methicillin, and vanomycin, do not cure a MRSA infection. As a result, much stronger antibiotics are needed to treat these severe infections, which could lead to increased adverse side effects experienced by patients.

The side effects of antibiotics are another drawback of this treatment method for a staph infection. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and upset stomach are some of the common side effects of antibiotics for staph. Some patients could also experience severe allergic reactions to antibiotic treatments, including hives, itchiness, dizziness and fainting, shortness of breath, or the development of white patches on the tongue. A few antibiotics cannot be combined with other medications, such as hormonal birth control pills, nor can they be used during pregnancy or while consuming alcohol. These contraindications might pose health risks that dissuade certain patients from taking antibiotics while experiencing a staph infection.

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ElizaBennett
Post 2

@MrsWinslow - The main other treatment, besides or in addition to antibiotics for MRSA or other staph infections, is surgery.

A friend of mine developed MRSA quite mysteriously. (She was under a lot of stress, but the infection was on her *abdomen.* And she had not been in the hospital or using a gym, the two big places where you can pick up MRSA.)

She had to have the infected area surgically removed. Fortunately, it was small. More serious cases can cost you big chunks of flesh, or even a limb, depending on how aggressive it is.

You are wise to be cautious at the gym. MRSA is actually one the reasons I advocate home birth (I was not eligible, myself, for my first two births, but if there is another little one I plan to go for it). Your body is used to all the germs at your house. The hospital is where you find superbugs! A healthy woman having an apparently healthy baby is not sick and doesn't belong in the hospital.

MrsWinslow
Post 1

Is there any alternative to taking antibiotics for a staph infection? I mean, doesn't the infection still need to be treated? Seems like you would, you know, *die* if you did not take treatment.

I always think that the best treatment is prevention, personally. I always bring my own mat to the gym, wash my hands a lot, etc. And you'll *never* catch me getting a pedicure!

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