What is MRSA?
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is an infection caused by a strain of bacteria known as staphylococcus, commonly referred to as a staph infection. MRSA is resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat staph infections, which is how the “methicillin (a form of penicillin)-resistant” part of the name was derived.
Only 4 out of 10,000 people develop the infection each year, according to the most recent statistics. However, 20 percent of patients with serious MRSA infections die.
What are the types of MRSA?
There are two types of MRSA infections:
1. HA-MRSA: Healthcare-associated MRSA commonly occurs after a hospitalization or stay in another type of healthcare setting.
2. CA-MRSA: Community-associated MRSA occurs among healthy people. This type of infection often begins as a painful skin boil. It is most often seen among student athletes and childcare workers.
What does it mean to be “colonized”?
The terms colonized refers to carrying the MRSA bacteria on your skin or in your nose, but showing no signs or symptoms of the illness. You may become colonized in two ways:
1. By touching the skin of another individual who is colonized with MRSA.
2. By touching a surface, such as a phone, counter top, or door handle, contaminated with MRSA.
What are the signs of MRSA?
• Small red bumps resembling pimples, boils, or insect bites, specifically those from a spider, may form on your skin.
• The skin lesions may be painful.
• You may develop a fever in addition to the skin lesions.
How is MRSA spread?
The bacteria associated with MRSA enter the body through a cut or other wound.
How can you protect against MRSA?
• Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water. Instruct your children how to effectively do the same.
• Keep any wounds, such as cuts and scrapes, clean and covered until they heal completely.
• Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.
• Wipe down exercise equipment, sports equipment, and uniforms before using.
• See a physician if you or a family member develops an unusual bump, bite, or boil on your skin.
How is MRSA diagnosed?
• Skin infections can be tested by culture.
• Infections of the joints, bone, lungs, or other areas require blood tests and an X-ray, CAT scan, echocardiogram or other type of imaging study.
Treatment options for MRSA:
• Incision and drainage of skin lesions by a healthcare provider.
• Non-penicillin antibiotic treatment.
• Intravenous therapy, if hospitalized.
• Instruction for careful management of the infection within your household to avoid spreading of the infection.
What is MRSA such an issue for students, especially athletes, and otherwise healthy individuals?
Community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) is becoming a more common health concern. Experts believe the overuse of antibiotics for treating a variety of health conditions has led to the increase in CA-MRSA cases in recent years.
Where can you learn more?
Sources of information regarding MRSA for this post include:
These websites provide valuable information and updates regarding MRSA.