Loofah Infections

Maintenance and Prevention

Loofahs are soaked in a bleach bath for about an hour after harvesting as a way to brighten up the gourd and kill any bacteria that dwell within. Repeating this once a month will help to reduce the growth of bacteria on your loofah. Drying your loofah between showers will also slow bacterial growth, so hang it in a dry place rather than inside the shower.

Keeping wounds covered and cleaning with antibiotic soap can prevent infections. It may be a good idea not to use a loofah if you have any doubts.

Staph Infections

Staph infections occur when the staphylococcus bacteria infects a wound. They can easily transfer from person to person through personal hygiene products like razors and sponges. Folliculitis, Cellulitis, and Impetigo are common types of staph infections that can affect the skin.

Folliculitis

Loofahs have caused folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicle, with the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Hot tub folliculitis is especially associated with contaminated hot tubs, showers and exfoliating with a contaminated loofah. Wet loofah sponges breed these types of bacteria, which hide within the rough fibers. Folliculitis is characterized by the formation of red boils around hair. These bumps often itch, burn and are filled with pus. Antibiotics or antifungal creams help to treat the condition. Folliculitis is also associated with the bacterium staphylococcus aureus,a type of staph infection.

Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a flesh-eating bacterial infection caused by streptococcus and staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The infection enters the body through cuts, scrapes, wounds or other breaks in skin. Symptoms are fever, chills and fatigue. The affected area will be swollen, warm and painful with red streaks over the skin. Antibiotics can treat this infection if caught early, but skin damage can occur if treatment is delayed.

Impetigo

Impetigo is another type of staph infection. It is a bacterial skin infection characterized by red sores that break open, ooze fluid and form crust. It is highly contagious and can be spread through hygiene products. Impetigo is usually treated with topical ointments, but more serious cases sometimes require antibiotic pills.