MRSA can be a serious infection, leading to other complications if left untreated. However, an antibiotic prescribed by your dermatologist can effectively treat the infection after proper diagnosis.
What is MRSA?
Referred to as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA is a highly contagious infection spread through direct contact with an infected person or object. MRSA infections are separated into two classifications: hospital-acquired (HA-MRSA) and community-acquired (CA-MRSA).
What are Symptoms of MRSA?
Symptoms of MRSA will depend on the type of infection acquired. HA-MRSA can infect the skin as well as the bloodstream, lungs, and urinary tract and is often associated with more serious symptoms such as:
- Muscle aches
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms of CA-MRSA skin infections often appear on areas with more body hair such as the armpits and back of the neck. Areas where the skin has been broken from being scratched or rubbed are more vulnerable to getting the infection. The infection often causes sores or boils on the skin with:
- Pus or other drainage
- Warmth around the area
What Causes MRSA?
MRSA is caused by a staph bacterium that is naturally found on the skin but is resistant to a variety of antibiotics. When a MRSA infection is present, this bacteria multiplies uncontrollably. The infection can be spread through direct contact with an infected wound or contact with contaminated hands, objects, or surfaces. The infection usually enters through cuts or other areas of broken skin. You might be at risk for HA-MRSA if you:
- Become hospitalized
- Need an invasive medical device such as a catheter
- Work or reside in a medical or care facility
CA-MRSA is often contracted from:
- Contact sports
- Poor hygiene
- Crowded living situations
How is MRSA Treated?
To determine if the infection is really caused by staph, a wound sample can be obtained and tested. A urine or blood culture can also be done to detect bacteria. Once MRSA is diagnosed, antibiotics are administered either orally or through an IV in more life-threatening cases. If the skin infection is large, a procedure to drain the abscess might be performed, which Ricardo Mejia, MD can do in the office.
How to Prevent MRSA
You can reduce your risk of contracting a MRSA infection by:
- Washing hands thoroughly
- Keeping wounds covered
- Sanitizing towels, bedding, and clothing often
- Avoiding sharing personal items such as razors, towels, and athletic equipment
If you believe you might have MRSA, you should see a dermatologist right away. Although the infection can be harmless, some cases can lead to more serious complications and be spread to others. If you are in the Jupiter, FL area, you can visit Jupiter Dermatology for a proper diagnosis and treatment.