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Medication for Staphylococcal Infections

Doctors at NYU Langone often manage staphylococcal, or staph, skin infections with antibiotics and, whenever possible, drainage. Treating an infection early reduces the odds that it might spread to other parts of the body.

The type of infection a person has determines the medication given. For example, if staph has caused a very minor skin infection, a doctor may prescribe a topical antibiotic cream or gel.

Other illnesses caused by staph—such as a painful rash called impetigo or cellulitis, an infection of the deep layers of the skin—are treated with antibiotics taken by mouth. NYU Langone doctors use the results of lab testing to identify the type of staph causing the infection, then choose the appropriate antibiotic.

Doctors often prescribe antibiotics for 7 to 10 days, although they may be taken for longer periods, depending on how the infection responds. Most people who take antibiotics for a staph infection feel better in two or three days. Still, it is important to finish the prescription. Otherwise, the medication may not kill all of the staph bacteria and the infection can return. If the infection comes back, it can be more severe and difficult to treat.

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