Signs & Symptoms of Staph Infection in the Lung

Updated April 17, 2017

Staphylococcus (Staph) is a genus of bacteria present in many parts of the environment. Several species of Staph bacteria are capable of causing human disease. For example, Staph aureus normally infects the skin. Other species, like Staph epidermidis, are normal bacteria of the skin and rarely cause disease. However, there are times when bacteria enters the airway and causes an infection of the lungs.


Like any other infection, one of the signs of a Staph lung infection is fever. Fever is the result of the immune system's white blood cells releasing chemicals to destroy invading organisms. These chemicals raise the whole body's temperature regardless of where the infection is found.


Coughing is the normal response to irritation of the lungs. Needless to say, a Staph infection in the lung causes a lot of irritation. A person with an uncontrollable cough should seek medical advice. While there are over-the-counter medications to control coughing, you don't want to suppress the normal coughing response, which aids in getting rid of irritants.

Shortness of Breath

Because the lungs are unable to properly exchange oxygen with the blood, shortness of breath sets in as an attempt by the body to compensate. The poor oxygen exchange occurs because the bacterial infection causes inflammation of the lung tissue, making it less useful.

Chest Pain

Pain is another symptom of a lung infection. The pain may be dull and generalised in the lungs, or sharp and located in one point within the chest. Any and all chest pain should be referred to a health care provider. Never ignore chest pain or try to "wait it out" because it may be a sign of a bigger health problem.

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About the Author

Rene Najera has been writing about health-related issues for over five years through different media. He holds a Master of Public Health degree from the George Washington University and conducts infectious disease surveillance at a state health department. He has also been a lab professional for over 14 years.