Staph infections are caused by bacteria. Sometimes a staph infection appears as a boil (red and swollen), or as impetigo (large blisters), which is contagious. Sometimes it appears as Cellulitis (an infection of deeper layers of skin causing skin redness and swelling). Treatment usually involves antibiotics and drainage of the infected area. For example, LA Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin has it in his elbow and will have it drained/removed. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of Griffin's elbow: "You could tell when something is infected. You can just look at it."
Staph bacteria can be transmitted from person to person. According to the Mayo Clinic: “Because staph bacteria are so hardy, they can live on inanimate objects such as pillowcases or towels long enough to transfer to the next person who touches them.” So yes, staph can be contagious, "but you don't have to worry about getting it unless you have a break in your skin or you have some sort of immunodeficiency." A relief, unless you're Blake Griffin's opponents, who tend to foul him harder than anyone else in the league.
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