ZocdocAnswersAre staph infections contagious through skin contact?

Question

Are staph infections contagious through skin contact?

My friend said he has a staph infection. Can I get it if I touch him? Are they contagious through skin contact? Should I go to the doctor if I touch him?

Answer

Staph is a common bacteria that lives on the skin. Sometimes, it can be involved in the development of skin infections, such as impetigo, boils, and abscesses. These infections are typically treated with antibiotics, although abscesses may require drainage of the pus collection. Staph can be transmitted from person to person by skin contact or by contact with personal items such as towels. However, carrying staph on your skin does not necessarily mean that you will contract an infection from the staph. Of course, if you touch an infected area of your friend's body, such as a boil or an abscess, you should immediately wash your hands with soap and water or with an alcohol hand gel. However, you do not need to go see your doctor unless you also develop symptoms. For example, if you have a red, painful area on your skin, a rash, or an area that looks like it might be an abscess, then you should definitely seek medical attention. However, if you don't have any of these symptoms then you should be ok without seeing your doctor. However, it is always a good idea to check in with your primary care doctor for more specific advice about questions like these!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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