Medscape.com. The bacteria are contagious as long as an individual has an active infection. In some cases, the infection may not cause any symptoms at all. In the case of most staph infections, the incubation period is generally between 4-10 days. Serious infections such as MRSA have the potential to spread through the air when the patient coughs. The word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. There are several different types of boils. Learn causes, symptoms, and treatment options of the highly contagious skin infection, MSRA. The infection transfers simply upon physical contact, either between body parts or from contact with any contaminated object with the skin. Perform a physical exam. Because many people carry several types and/or species of staph on their bodies, some researchers question whether or not some staph infections are truly contagious or if they arise from overgrowth of these organisms usually present on a person's skin and/or mucous membranes. MRSA is very contagious and can be spread through direct contact with a person who has the infection. If a person thinks that they might have a staph infection it is important to stay away from children, the elderly, and those with poor immune systems. It is a representative of the gram-positive bacteria which can cause many serious infections. You can get staph from breathing in infected breath droplets, touching contaminated surfaces including an infected personā€™s skin, or getting the bacteria in a cut. Impetigo: This is a contagious skin rash that sometimes secretes fluid that forms a yellow crust over the rash. The infections caused due to resistant bacteria such as MRSA have prolonged contagious periods. The most common type of staph infection is the boil, which is a pus pocket that forms in an oil gland or hair follicle. Collection of blood or urine to test for staphylococcus presence. The symptoms of staph infections depend upon the organ invaded by these pathogens. Staphylococcus or staph is a group of bacteria that can cause a multitude of diseases. Impetigo is a contagious infection that can spread if a person scratches the blisters and then scratches or touches another area of the body. Staph infections are very contagious. Staphylococcus aureus is an important human pathogen, affiliated with staph which has a "flesh-eating bacteria" nickname. But whether or not an infected person shows any symptoms, he/she is still contagious and can pass the infection to others. Although usually a physician will not need to run laboratory tests for a diagnosis, if MRSA, food poisoning, or toxic shock syndrome is suspected, samples from blood and tissue can be examined and cultures may be performed to identify the specific type of staph. Food poisoning has many causes, for example, chemicals (from toxic fish or plants) and bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus or Salmonella). During the exam, your doctor will closely examine any skin lesions you may have. 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