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What are the chances of Staph bacterial transmission through intact skin contact?

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Posted on Thu, 21 May 2015
Question: I have a 5 month old son. Earlier today when I was holding him, his hand grazed my armpit and he immediately put that same hand in his mouth before I could stop him. I remember reading somewhere that we carry staph bacteria on our armpits. I dont have a current staph infection, so I was wondering if it was possible for him to catch a staph infection from this?
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Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail (19 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
It is unlikely that your son will develop infection from the above incident

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX,
Thanks for writing in to us.

I have read through your query in detail.
Please find my observations below.

1. Staph aureus bacteria can be found in the nose and armpits. However your infant will not get the infection just by grazing his hand on your armpit and putting it in to his mouth. Besides you are healthy and do not have any staph aureus or any kind of sore in your armpit. Therefore the incident is not a concern and you can relax that he will not catch a staph infection due to this.

2. The staph bacteria lives harmlessly in many areas of our body as long the skin is contact. The infection happens only when there is a break in skin and the bacteria starts multiplying.

3. I certainly hope that your son does not have any cut wound or any break in the skin by which he might develop the infection.

4. It is unlikely for your child to develop staph infection by grazing his hand near your armpit and putting it in his mouth.

5. The above incident is not a serious concern.

Please feel free to correct any oversight in my interpretation of your problems and discuss them in detail as per your requirements.

Hope your query is answered.
Do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Vivek Chail

Radiologist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 6786 Questions

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What are the chances of Staph bacterial transmission through intact skin contact?

Brief Answer: It is unlikely that your son will develop infection from the above incident Detailed Answer: Hi XXXX, Thanks for writing in to us. I have read through your query in detail. Please find my observations below. 1. Staph aureus bacteria can be found in the nose and armpits. However your infant will not get the infection just by grazing his hand on your armpit and putting it in to his mouth. Besides you are healthy and do not have any staph aureus or any kind of sore in your armpit. Therefore the incident is not a concern and you can relax that he will not catch a staph infection due to this. 2. The staph bacteria lives harmlessly in many areas of our body as long the skin is contact. The infection happens only when there is a break in skin and the bacteria starts multiplying. 3. I certainly hope that your son does not have any cut wound or any break in the skin by which he might develop the infection. 4. It is unlikely for your child to develop staph infection by grazing his hand near your armpit and putting it in his mouth. 5. The above incident is not a serious concern. Please feel free to correct any oversight in my interpretation of your problems and discuss them in detail as per your requirements. Hope your query is answered. Do write back if you have any doubts. Regards, Dr.Vivek