Is Staph Infection Contagious?

How Contagious Is A Staph Infection And How Long?

Staph infections are bacterial infections caused by bacteria of the genus staphylococcus. There are almost 30 species of staphylococcus. Most infections are caused by Staphylococcus aureus. The genus staphylococcus is responsible for causing various infections such as skin infections, food poisoning, toxic shock syndrome, septicemia, endocarditis, septic arthritis, and pneumonia. In almost 25% of the healthy people, staphylococcus is found in the nose, genitals, anal area and mouth. However, the infection is only caused by these bacteria when the internal tissues are exposed to these bacteria such as during a cut. Due to the seriousness of staph infection, many people have concerns that is staph infection contagious and how does it spread? The symptoms of staph infections depend upon the organ invaded by these pathogens.

What Is The Incubation Period Of Staph Infection?

Staph infections are caused due to various species of staphylococcus. Thus, the incubation period is highly variable. Further, as disease-causing bacteria are already present on the mucous membrane, the incubation period in most cases remains unclear. In the case of most staph infections, the incubation period is generally between 4-10 days.

How Long Is Staph Infection Contagious?

Staph infections are caused due to a variety of staphylococcus bacteria. The length of the contagious period depends upon the type of bacteria involved, the organ attacked the antibiotic therapy and the response of bacteria to the therapy. For instance, if the skin infections caused by staphylococcus are treated with appropriate antibiotic therapy, most of them are non-contagious after 1-2 days. Patients with more severe and systemic infections are at risk of spreading the disease for a longer period. The infections caused due to resistant bacteria such as MRSA have prolonged contagious periods. In a general, sense, if the person has an active infection with an open wound, there is a risk of spreading infection.

Is Staph Infection Contagious Airborne?

Staph infections are not commonly spread through the air. Serious infections such as MRSA have the potential to spread through the air when the patient coughs. Some studies have also indicated that staph bacteria are involved in many hospital infections due to their transmission through the air. It is also to be noted that staph bacteria are commonly found in both indoor and outdoor environment and bacteria present in the indoor environment are comparatively more resistant to antibiotics. To minimize the risk of getting infected, healthy people, especially children, should stay away from the patient.

Is A Staph Infection In The Nose Contagious?

Staphylococcus bacteria are also inhabited in the nasal mucosa. When the nasal mucosa breaks, these bacteria cause infection. Once staph bacteria infect the nose, the infection may spread to a healthy person. However, the chances of spreading nasal bacterial infections are less as compared to viral nasal infections which are highly contagious. Further, infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria are more contagious as compared to infections caused by other bacteria.

Is A Staph Infection Contagious By Touch?

When some people ask is staph infection contagious by touch, the answer is affirmative. Staph infections may occur through skin-to-skin contact. A healthy person can get a staph infection by touching the person with a skin infection. The staph infection can also spread by touching those things that have staph bacteria. These things include clothes, razors, or towels of the infected person.

Is A Staph Infection Contagious In A Swimming Pool?

There are very rare chances of spreading staph infections through the swimming pool which is properly maintained in terms of pH and chlorine levels. The risk of infection may increase when the person with cuts or wounds on the skin enters the swimming pool. Chances of getting infected are high due to indirect contacts such as using the other person’s towel or encountering bacteria-contained locker handles and handrails. People with staph infections are advised to stay away from recreational water.

Is A Staph Infection Contagious Through Kissing?

Kissing may lead to the exchange of infectious organisms. However, the chances of getting the infection through kissing are low because the saliva contains various enzymes and antibodies that help to prevent bacterial infection. However, tough bacteria such as MRSA may infect a person when transmitting through kissing.

How Does A Person Know That He Has Staph Infection?

Symptoms due to bacterial infections are experienced by patients based on the organ involved. Almost all bacterial infections are presented by common general symptoms such as fever, and body aches. To confirm the presence of staph infections various tests are to be performed. These include;

  • Cotton swab test where the sample is collected from the wound and analyzed for the presence of staphylococcus bacteria.
  • Collection of blood or urine to test for staphylococcus presence.


Certain staph infections are serious infections and should be treated promptly. “Is staph infection contagious” is the apprehension of many patients and their caretakers. Generally, staph infection is spread through skin-to-skin contact and using the personal stuff such as towels or razors of the infected person.

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