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Had handshake and kissed forehead of a person having staph. Concerned about spread of infection ?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2007
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My father is in and aged care facility and on a stay in hospital my sister was told he had golden staph, which he must have been tested for when he entered hospital. My concern is that while visiting him I kissed him good-bye on the forehead, and my husband shook his hand. I remember we cleaned our hand on arriving, but cannot remember doing so on leaving. At the time I didn't think much of it but reading on line about staph I now realize I could have been colonized and may spread it to others. I don't see him regularily as we live quite a distance away.
I have no reason to believe I am a carrier as I have no infections. but I am concerned about being able to spread it by touching my nose and by touching surfaces or other people. as I would feel really guilty if I had caused someone a life threatening disease. i find I am constanly aware of what I am touching. I have always been and avid hand washer but I find because of worrying about being a carrier I am obsessed by it.
Recently I was at the gym and used an exercise bike used for spin classes for balance during the stretch section of a weights class. As I had not washed my hands and I had been on the floor I feel I have contaminated the bike. which I know is cleaned down after every session, and I am worried that I might give the person using it next an infection. What would be the risk of me being a carrier and causing infection in others. I know I can be tested but even then You could become a carrier at a later date. Do I need to be concerned or am I over reacting to something which is highly unlikely.
Posted Tue, 8 May 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Mohammed Tauseef 50 minutes later

Thank you for the query.

I would like to know few more things which would help me in suggesting you better. Please answer these:

1.) Do you have a cut, scratch or wound anywhere on your body?
2.) Do you get fever with chills?

I would like to let you know that, anyone can get a staph (Staphylococcus) infection. You are more likely to get one if you have a cut or scratch, or have contact with a person or surface that has staphylococcal bacteria. The best way to prevent staphylococci is to keep hands and wounds clean. Most staphylococcal skin infections are easily treated with antibiotics or by draining the infection.

If you don't have a risk factor, like a cut or wound which is open, then you are highly unlikely to contract the infection. Kindly don't worry about it as you are overreacting about it.

There are various forms in which the infection could occur, like:

1.) Skin infections
2.) Pneumonia
3.) Food poisoning
4.) Toxic shock syndrome
5.) Blood poisoning (bacteremia)

If at all you develop symptoms like,

1.) High grade fever with chills
2.) Burning sensation while passing urine.
3.) Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
4.) Cough with chest pain.

seek immediate medical care. If you have a cut or wound, keep yourself away from people with the infection and keep the wound clean by regular dressing. Seek a doctor's guidance regarding this.

In addition to this, follow these lifestyle modifications:

1.) Eat healthy nutritious balanced diet which should include fresh fruits and XXXXXXX leafy vegetables.
2.) Avoid stress, practice relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation.
3.) Avoid alcohol and smoking, if you do.
4.) Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
5.) Wash your hands before eating and after using a washroom. Educate your family the same.

These lifestyle modifications will improve your immunity and will help you stay healthy.

Hope I have answered your query, I will be available to answer your follow up queries.

Wish you and your family Good Health.

Take Care.

Dr.Mohammed Tauseef.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had handshake and kissed forehead of a person having staph. Concerned about spread of infection ? 3 hours later
The recommendation i have read for prevnenting the infection is to clean your hand after touching your nose. i do this automatically and feel i have to be running and cleaning all the time.
Answered by Dr. Mohammed Tauseef 5 hours later

Thank you for writing back to me.

Almost all Staphylococcus including S. aureus (golden staph) colonize skin and other mucous membrane as unharmful commensals. They cause serious / active infections in an immunocompromised individual. Such actively infected patients have been the carriers of Staph aureus in most cases.

Rarely, in about 10-15% individual healthy individuals have been carriers of golden staph and are spreading the bacteria to others. And most of the colony site have been nostrils and skin flexural regions.

Now to answer your questions:

1. Considering you are a healthy individual with normal immunity, the chance of you being a healthy carrier is less likely.
2. Continue the good hygeine of cleaning hands after touching nostrils, armpits, groin regions.

Bottom line is that I do not feel you are at risk of being a carrier now. Follow up with the healthy hygiene.

Hope you have understood my point of view.

Wishing you good health once again.

Take Care.

Dr.Mohammed Tauseef.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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