• MRSA or  Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus Infections

    What is Staphylococcus Aureus (Staph)?

    Staphlococcus aureus, referred to commonly as staph are bacteria carried on the skin or the noses of healthy people. Sometimes, staph can cause skin infections.  Staph infection historically occurred among people in hospitals and health care facilities but now they are spreading into the general population and are easily spread from person to person.

    What is MRSA?

    Some staph bacteria have actually mutated or changed and are not killed by commonly used antibiotics. MRSA is a type of staph that is reisitant to methicillin, an antibiotic, and other common antibiotics.  MRSA infections are commonly mistaken as spider bites.

    What does a staph or MRSA infection look like?

    Staph bacteria, including MRSA, can cause skin infections that may look like a pimple or boil or an ingrown hair.  The area can be red, swollen, painful, have pus or other drainage.  If the infection is not treated, it may lead to bloodstream infections or even death.

    If you notice:

    • Boils (tender, red lumps that swell and get pimple-like white heads). Boils can form on oily or moist skin such as neck, armpits, groin, and buttocks.
    • Small red bumps that look like spider bites or ingrown hairs.
    • Pain out of proportion to skin condition (i.e. a "pimple" or small bump that looks like an insect bite that causes severe pain or joint stiffness) 

    What should I do if I think my child has a staph infection?

    Contact your healthcare provider immediately. The wound should be cultured for MRSA.

    How is MRSA Spread?

    Any open wound is a potential entry point for MRSA or other infection.  Factors that have been associated with the spread of skin infections include: close skin to skin contact, openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions, contaminated surfaces or items or poor hygiene.

    Students playing sports are at a greater risk because they share equipment and have skin contact which are both common causes of infection.

    How Can I Prevent Staph or MRSA Infections?

    Practice good hygiene including:

    Keep your hands clean

    Treat cuts and scrapes with soap and water

    Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed

    Shower after physical activity

    Properly clean gear and equipment

    Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, razors, shoes, wash cloths or other clothing items.

    Consult your health care provider for all active wounds

    Are MRSA and Staph treatable?

    Yes, Most are treated with antibiotics and sometimes the area may require draining. This should only be done by a health care provider and not at home.

    This information was provided by the CDC and Tec Labs.

Last Modified on January 18, 2008