Staphylococcus, or staph, infections are cause by bacteria found in moist, warm environments, especially hospitals and public restrooms. The bacteria enter the skin through cuts, sores or bug bites. The Mayo Clinic reports that a staph infection causes white, pimple-like sores to erupt on the skin, and the area feels hot and painful. Over time, the wound spreads under the skin and can cover extremely large areas. The first measure for fighting a staph infection is to drain the wound, and Epsom salts can be applied as a poultice to speed drainage of staph bacteria.
Mix 2 cups of Epsom salts per gallon of warm distilled water in a clean glass container. For smaller wounds, make a smaller recipe by mixing ¼ cup Epsom salts to 1 pint of warm distilled water. The water should be warmed gently to about 100 degrees (body temperature). You may warm the water to a higher temperature--just make sure you do not burn yourself.
Soak a new square of sterile gauze in the Epsom salts mixture. Squeeze out excess water gently and apply to the wound site. Keep the compress in place for 10 to 15 minutes. If the first gauze pad dries out, apply a new one in the same manner.
Rinse the area thoroughly with clean, warm water. The Epsom salts solution will draw toxins to the surface, so if there is any pus or drainage, rinse it with plenty of running water.
Dry the area thoroughly with a clean towel and apply a clean, dry gauze pad. If the area is especially sensitive, avoid adhesives and simply bind the clean bandage with more gauze. Repeat this procedure once every hour or two, always using completely clean and sterile gauze to apply the compress.
Alternatively, you may make a paste of Epsom salts with a few drops of warm distilled water, according to USGyms.net. Apply the paste to the wound and cover with a very warm washcloth. Keep the washcloth hot for about 10 minutes, remove and rinse well with warm water. Repeat once per hour. Keep the area covered with bandages between treatments.
Staph infections can be deadly. Go to the doctor if you have significant swelling, redness, heat or drainage from the infection.
According to the Mayo Clinic, MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infections are resistant to the usual antibiotic treatments. If left untreated by high-powered antibiotics administered intravenously, they can be deadly.
Jamie Simpson is a researcher and journalist based in Indianapolis with more than 10 years of professional writing experience. She earned her B.S. in animal science from Purdue University and her Master of Public Affairs in public management from Indiana University. Simpson also works as a massage therapist and equine sports massage therapist.