What is It?
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA, is a type of staph infection which is caused by bacteria found on the skin. Most of the time, the bacteria does not cause problems or results in minor skin infections.
What sets MRSA apart from a regular staph infection is that the bacteria comes resistant to the common antibiotics which are commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections.
How Does It Spread?
MRSA is spread by contact. This means that touching an infected person’s skin can result in contracting the infection. There is also a chance of becoming infected by touching an object that has the bacteria on it.
It is possible to carry MRSA on your body but not necessarily having it infect your body. The infection commonly invades people with a weak immune system.
For this reason, MRSA infections occur most often in people who have been in a hospital, nursing home or dialysis center. This type is known as health care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA).
Another type is community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA). This type occurs among healthy people in the community and is spread by skin-to-skin contact. Common groups most at risk are high school wrestlers, child care workers and people who live in crowded conditions.
Signs and Symptoms
The early stages of most staph infections, including MRSA, appear as small red bumps that resemble pimples or spider bites. The skin may appear red, swollen and warm to the touch. Sometimes the sores may even accompany a fever.
This stage may seem harmless, however, can quickly turn into deep, painful sores that require surgical attention.
In less serious cases, the bacteria remains in the skin. There is a risk, however, of the infection moving into the bones, joints, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart valves and even lungs. These cases are potentially life-threatening. For this reason, it is advised to seek medical attention immediately.
Consider taking these few preventative steps in order to reduce your risk of MRSA infections:
Image via MSU Today
It is important to wash your hands thoroughly many times throughout the day, especially after the usual unhygienic activities like using the bathroom. Aside from that, wash your hands as much as possible when being in contact with others frequently.
If you work in a field where you are in contact with others, consider carrying hand sanitizer with you. This quick and easy one step process gives you no excuses and keeps you safe and clean.
Don’t Share Personal Items
Personal items are exactly that, personal. You shouldn’t be sharing items like towels, razors or even clothing or uniforms for hygienic reasons, but also because that is an easy way to transfer bacteria from one person to another.
Clean Your Body
You should be taking at least one complete, full body shower a day. It is especially important to shower after exercising since that is when your body is most in contact with either others or equipment that can carry bacteria.
As previously stated, bacteria can live on objects that can transfer onto a person’s skin. This holds true for exercise and sporting equipment.
To ensure that surfaces stay clean and bacteria free, sanitize them with proper solutions regularly. Certain products like Clear Gear Sports Spray are specifically designed for sports equipment and do the job better than regular cleaning problems.
Keep Wounds Clean
An open wound on the skin is the easiest way to contract MRSA. Keep all wounds including scrapes and cuts clean and covered with bandages until they are fully healed.
Seek treatment ASAP
If you suspect that you may be infected with MRSA, make an appointment to see a doctor immediately. The sooner it is treated, the less likely the infection is to spread to other parts of the body and cause more serious problems.