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Flu-Like Symptoms From a Staph Infection

author image Cheryl Grace Myers
Cheryl Myers has has a master's degree from Saint Leo University and currently writes for several publications including Fit Pregnancy, Guideposts and Parent's Magazine.
Flu-Like Symptoms From a Staph Infection
A flu virus or staph infection can cause fever. Photo Credit: shironosov/iStock/Getty Images

Seek treatment for a staph infection, as soon as the flu-like symptoms appear. Consequences for late or neglected treatment for may cause serious medical conditions or even death. In fact, certain strains of staph may increase the fatality rate among certain populations. A 2009 study at the Henry Ford Hospital shows that some strains of the infection-causing bacteria may have a 50 percent fatality rate, particularly among hospital-acquired staph infections. Early recognition of the flu-like symptoms may provide patients with the advantage of early and successful treatment.

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Staph infections can affect all body mechanisms, including vital organs, such as the lungs. As a result, staph infections may cause breathing problems may occur. Pneumonia may develop, particularly seen among populations with compromised immune systems, such as the geriatric and pediatric populations. Severe coughing, hacking or the feeling of not getting enough air are respiratory symptoms that may develop from staph infection, the same symptoms experienced when having a bout with the flu.

Body Pains

Body aches and pains are common flu-like symptoms of MRSA. A discriminating difference between bodily pains experienced with the flu and inflictions felt by a staph infection is the septic pain, or pain occurring within the joints. Joint inflammation occurs when a staph infection travels through the blood stream. Maneuvering the limb with affected joint may cause increased pain. Abscesses or skin boils are typical reactions to staph infections and can cause inflammation and agonizing pain in the affected area, especially on areas where the body folds or creases.


A fever is the body’s immune response to a virus or bacteria. A climbing fever may cause chills or hot flashes, as the body adapts to a warmer body temperature. Chills and hot flashes may subside after the body temperature reaches the fever temperature—determined by the body’s immune system.


An upset stomach is a typical flu-like symptom caused by MRSA. Examples include flank pain, vomiting and a loss of appetite. Often, nausea is the first flu-like symptom caused by a staph infection, and the last symptoms relieved once the infection clears up.


Diarrhea, with or without abdominal cramping, may be a flu-like symptom caused by a bacterial infection, particularly infections caused by spoiled or unclean food. According to the Mayo Clinic, staph-related food poisoning may cause diarrhea within 1 to 6 hours after eating the contaminated food. Diarrhea caused by the flu virus often lasts longer than the short-lived symptoms caused from a staph infection.

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