What is a MRSA infection?

Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is brought about by a strain of staphylococcus that developed resistance to various types of antibiotics. The bacteria naturally thrive on the skin and within the nose and do not cause any harm. Nevertheless, if they start to multiply, a MRSA infection can occur. This usually occurs from a break or cut on the skin.

Due to its contagious nature, it spreads via direct contact with an infected individual. One can also acquire the infection if exposed to an object or surface that has been contaminated.

Types of MRSA infection and symptoms

MRSA-infection

Regularly wash hands since this is the initial line of defense against the spread of MRSA.

The infection can be categorized as either hospital or community-acquired. The symptoms vary depending on the form of infection.

Community-acquired

This form of MRSA typically triggers skin infections, particularly areas with increased body hair such as the back of the neck or the armpits.

An infection causes a painful, swollen bump on the skin that strikingly resembles a pimple or spider bite. It usually has a yellowish or white center and a central head that is bordered by an area of redness and warmth. There is also drainage of pus and other fluids and even fever.

Hospital-acquired

This form of infection is likely to cause serious complications such as sepsis, pneumonia and urinary tract infections. A doctor must be consulted right away if any of the following symptoms are present:

  • Headaches
  • Rash
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

Management

Both community and hospital-acquired MRSA infections are treated differently.

Community-acquired

The infection typically improves with oral antibiotics alone. If an individual has a significant skin infection, the doctor might decide to perform incision and drainage. The procedure is usually done in a clinic under local anesthesia where a scalpel is used to cut open the area and drain it entirely.

Hospital-acquired

Due to the likelihood of triggering severe and dangerous infections, intravenous antibiotics are required, often for long periods of time depending on the severity of the infection.

Prevention

  • Regularly wash hands since this is the initial line of defense against the spread of MRSA. It is also recommended to bring a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol to keep the hands clean if there is no access to soap and water.
  • Any wounds should be covered always. This helps prevent pus or other fluids that might contain staph bacteria from contaminating other surfaces.
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as sheets, towels, razors and athletic equipment.
  • Linens should be sanitized by washing in hot water with added bleach.

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