What is MRSA?
Otherwise known as Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA is a methicillin-resistant strain of staph bacteria. This strain is resistant to several types of antibiotics, making it difficult to treat. This bacteria mainly causes painful skin infections, but in some cases it can cause pneumonia, among other issues. If these infections remain untreated, it will become severe and will likely cause sepsis, which is a life-threatening reaction cause by untreated bodily infections.
Who is at risk?
Anyone who is physically near someone else with MRSA is at risk of contracting infection. Infection can be spread by contact with an MRSA-infected wound or sharing personal items with someone who has MRSA. These items can be everyday items like bath towels or razors, or anything that would physically touch the infected persons skin. Additionally, anywhere where someone is in a setting where they will be in physical contact with others or sharing equipment/supplies is a risky environment. These can include daycares, crowded events, and athletics.
How common is MRSA?
Very often, people carry MRSA in or on their bodies without knowing it. Recent studies have shown that about one in three people carry MRSA within their nose, without ever showing any sign of infection or illness. Additionally, two in every 100 people within the U.S. carry the bacteria.
How can I prevent MRSA?
There are several precautions you can take to avoid contraction of MRSA:
- Avoid sharing personal items with others.
- Always keep wounds, cuts, and scrapes clean and protected until fully healed.
- Maintain good hygiene. Always keep your hands and body clean, especially after exercise and bodily contact.
- Reach out for early treatment if you believe you may be infected.
What are the symptoms of MRSA?
Most staph infections will appear as a raised, infection bump on the skin. This bump may be:
- Warm to the touch
- Full of pus or other drainage
- Paired by fever
I think I may have MRSA, what do I do?
Firstly, cover the area with a bandage to prevent any sort of contact. Next, wash your hands and immediately call Houston Center for Infectious Diseases. If your supposed infection is accompanied by a fever, it is paramount that you get to a doctor immediately.
How is MRSA treated?
Although MRSA is resistant to many antibiotics, intravenous antibiotics can properly treat infections. You must simply follow your doctor’s instructions for your antibiotic dosage to take care of any MRSA infection. Always finish your fully prescribed dosage of antibiotics, even if you are feeling better.f Sometimes, antibiotics are not necessary. Some types of MRSA will form a boil on the surface of the skin. If this is the case, your doctor can simply make an incision and drain the boil of all infection.
How to prevent the spread of MRSA:
- Keep all wounds and broken skin covered. Make sure your bandages are dry and clean at all times. Never pick at or attempt to pop your sore, as it will make your own wound worse and will put others at risk for infection.
- Wash your hands often, and instruct those around you to keep their hands clean as well.
- Do not share your personal items.
- Maintain clean sheets, towels, and clothing.