MRSA is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to several antibiotics.
Anyone can get MRSA through direct contact with an infected wound or by sharing personal items, such as towels or razors, that have touched infected skin. MRSA infection risk can be increased when a person is in certain activities that involve skin-to-skin contact or shared equipment or supplies.
Studies show that about one in three people carry staph in their nose, usually without illness. Two in 100 carry MRSA.
There are personal hygiene steps you can take to reduce your risk of MRSA infection:
- Maintain good hand and body hygiene. Wash hands often, and clean body regularly, especially after exercise.
- Keep cuts, scrapes, and wounds clean and covered until healed.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels and razors.
- Get care early if you think you might have an infection.
Often, people first think the area is a spider bite: however, unless a spider is actually seen, the irritation is likely not a spider bite. Most staph skin infections, including MRSA, appear as a bump or infected area on the skin that might be:
- Warm to the touch
- Full of pus or other drainage
- Accompanied by a fever
If you or someone you know experiences these signs and symptoms, cover the area with a bandage, wash your hands, and contact your doctor. It is especially important to contact your doctor if signs and symptoms of an MRSA skin infection are accompanied by a fever.
- Cover your wounds. Keep wounds covered with clean, dry bandages until healed. Follow your doctor's instructions about proper care of the wound. Pus from infected wounds can contain MRSA so keeping the infection covered will help prevent the spread to others. Bandages and tape can be thrown away with the regular trash.
- Clean your hands often. Wash your hand with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub, especially after changing bandages or touching the infected wound.
- Do not share personal items. Personal items include towels, washcloths, razors, clothing, and uniforms.
- Wash sheets, towels, and clothes in water and laundry detergent. Use a dryer to dry them completely.
- Wash clothes according to manufacturer's instructions on the label.
Treatment for MRSA skin infections may include having a healthcare professional drain the infection and, in some cases, prescribe an antibiotic. Do not attempt to drain the infection yourself-doing so could worsen or spread it to others. If you are given an antibiotic, be sure to take all the doses (even if the infection is getting better), unless your doctor tells you to stop taking it.
For more information go to: www.cdc.gov/mrsa/
Birkam Health Center 231-591-2614