Have you ever heard of the medical condition MRSA? Now, donâ€™t all of you run off and consult Web-MD at once. I will explain.
I had never heard of this condition before until a couple weeks ago when my brother presented with a small skin sore. He went to the doctor and was told that he most likely had MRSA. What is MRSA was our first question.
Being his big sister, he came to me with his concerns and I consulted my two go-to authorities; my brother-in-law the doctor and the Internet. Donâ€™t judge me, you know youâ€™ve done it, too.
According to the CDCâ€™s website:
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or MRSA is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics called beta-lactams. These antibiotics include methicillin and other common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. Community MRSA (which is what you and I might catch in the general public) typically presents as a skin infection. More severe or potentially life-threatening MRSA infections occur most frequently among patients in health-care settings.
MRSA can live on your skin, like most staphylococcus bacteria, and never affect you but if it lives on your skin and you get an open wound, the bacteria came move from a relatively harmless bacteria to one that gets into the wound and wreaks havoc on your body.
Most MRSA infections occur in people who have been in hospitals or other health care settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers. When it occurs in these settings, it’s known as health care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA). HA-MRSA infections typically are associated with invasive procedures or devices, such as surgeries, intravenous tubing or artificial joints.
Another type of MRSA infection has occurred in the wider community â€” among healthy people. This form, community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA), often begins as a painful skin boil. It’s spread by skin-to-skin contact.
At-risk populations include groups such as high school wrestlers, childcare workers and people who live in crowded conditions, but itâ€™s being seen more and more in schools and organized team sports.
Obviously, this scared me a little bit because I already have a fear of Staph infections because of a student that I lost to Staphylococcus and the media surrounding the Rory Staunton case.
When I heard the word â€œresistantâ€ in the name it completely freaked out. My mind went to worse case scenarios. The key to treatment is correct diagnosis and early detection.
My brother is now fine. Last night, I took my 7-year-old to the Redi-Med with what presented as a molluscum on the inside of her upper arm but within 24 hours had turned to a puss filled sore. I immediately thought infected spider bite.
There were no other symptoms; no nausea, no fever, no chills, no malaise whatsoever. The doctor took one look and said she â€œthoughtâ€ it was MRSA. My heart sunk. I hate when my girls are sick. Iâ€™ve been praying non-stop since. Feel free to join me.
The doctor took a small scalpel and opened the sore, drained it, cultured it, cleaned it and bandaged it. Then she sent us home with an antibiotic that is used to treat MRSA and a topical antibiotic to treat the open sore. She sent us home to wait.
The bacteria culture has to grow for 48 hours before we can confirm whether or not it is actually MRSA. Iâ€™ve not slept at all since. I slept with her and stayed awake most of the night checking the wound and taking her temperature. I spent the remainder of the night researching MRSA, like Iâ€™m sure all of you would have done.
With school starting again soon and there seeming to be an increase in the number of cases of CA-MRSA being seen, I felt it might be beneficial to provide every mom I know with a list of preventative actions that can be taken.
MRSA is passed from person to person through touch. If someone who is infected touches something and you touch that same thing, there is the possibility that the bacteria can find itâ€™s way into your skin.
- When showering daily use anti-bacterial soap.
- Wash bedding once a week.
- Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down frequently touched surfaces that can come into direct contact with skin i.e. the sink faucet, doorknobs and sink countertop.
- Wash towels regularly.
- When at a public place, wash hands vigorously for 20 seconds and use a disposable towel to dry your hands and then use another one to turn off the faucet.
- Keep any wounds covered with sterile, dry bandages.
- Avoid sharing personal items like towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment. MRSA can spread from contaminated object to person, as easily as from person to person.
If your child or yourself presents with a boil/pimple like sore that rapidly grows with the first 24 hours, seek treatment immediately. The earlier you detect and treat, the more likely the chances are for a full recovery without complications.
I hope none of you ever need to use this information but just in case, better to be informed and educated. A ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right?
Photo Source: Seattle Municipal Archives