Staphylococcus bacteria -- staph, for short -- are germs often found on your skin and in your nostrils. If those germs get into an open wound, they can cause skin infections or move deep into your skin and soft tissues. From there, they can travel into joints, bones, and organs. They can even cause blood poisoning. Staph is the leading cause of infection in U.S. healthcare facilities. Washing your hands with soap and water helps keep them from traveling. So does covering those open wounds.