(Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)
Staphylococcus aureus, often simply called "staph", are common bacteria (germs). They can be carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people.
Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States. Most of these infections are minor, and can be treated without antibiotic medicines. Sometimes, though, staph bacteria can cause serious wound infections and pneumonia. In the past, most serious staph infections were treated with a certain type of antibiotic related to penicillin.
Over the past 50 years, it has become harder to treat these infections. The staph bacteria have become resistant to many antibiotics in the penicillin family. These resistant bacteria are called Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, or MRSA.
People can have MRSA bacteria in their bodies and not get sick. Infection occurs when the bacteria cause disease in the person. Many times the first sign is an infected boil.
Staph bacteria can cause skin infections, bone infections, pneumonia, or severe life-threatening bloodstream infections. MRSA infection is more likely to occur among people in hospitals and healthcare settings.
Other things that increase a person's chances of getting sick from
• Patients who have an open wound or a tube going into their body
• Being in the hospital for a long time
• Recent surgery
• Receiving broad spectrum antibiotics
• Spending time close to other patients who have MRSA
Outside the hospital risk factors include:
• Recent, frequent antibiotic use
• Sharing items like toothbrushes/ towels that have the bacteria on them
• Having active skin diseases
• Living in crowded settings
• IV drug use
• Receiving tattoos at an unlicensed place
Many skin infections can be treated just by draining the sore. Most staph and MRSA can be treated with certain antibiotics. If the doctor prescribes an antibiotic, it is very important to take all the medicine as ordered.
If the infection does not get better, call the doctor.
MRSA is usually spread by direct contact, and not through the air. It can also be spread by touching objects (towels, sheets, wound dressings, clothes, workout areas, or sports equipment) that have touched the infected skin on a person with MRSA.
• Teach your child NOT to share towels, toothbrushes, combs, etc.
• Wash your hands often and very well with soap and water.
• Keep cuts, scrapes and sores clean. Keep them covered with a clean bandage until healed.
• Do Not touch other people's wounds or items that have touched their wounds.
WHEN TO CALL THE DOCTOR
Call your doctor if any of the following occurs:
• If your child's condition gets worse (more swollen, more painful, more red, etc.).
• If your child develops a fever, or has other signs that your child is becoming sicker, such as vomiting, diarrhea, always sleeping, etc.).
• If your child develops skin changes or new sores, abscesses, or boils).
• If your child won't take the medicine that the doctor prescribed.
If you have any questions, be sure to ask your school nurse or school athletic trainer for recommendations on care.
REMEMBER - HAND WASHING OFTEN CAN PREVENT THE SPREAD OF MRSA.