ZocdocAnswersHow contagious is a staph infection?

Question

How contagious is a staph infection?

I heard that at the gym I work out at someone had a staph infection. How contagious is this? Should I stop going to that gym or do something so I don't get an infection?

Answer

Staph infections can be contagious, but not in the kind of way that you are thinking of. Staph is a type of bacteria that lives in many different places including our own skin. When we get a cut or some break in our skin, staph is often the bacteria that causes an infection to that area of skin. Thus when someone get's a staph infection, it is usually because they have some wound that got contaminated by staph from their own skin or from someone else. Staph is contagious, but you don't have to worry about getting it unless you you have that break in your skin or you have some sort of immunodeficiency. If you get a staph infection, it is much more likely to be from your own skin than someone else. I should mention that a specific type of staph, the so-called MRSA is a more difficult to treat infection that is becoming more common recently. This type of infection occurs under the same circumstances as any other. Either way, you can continue going to your gym. If you ever develop an area of red painful skin, you should definitely be seen by a doctor (your primary care physician would be fine). This could mean that you have a staph infection that needs drained or treated with antibiotics.

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

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.