I want to make it clear that I am not a doctor and my understanding and explanations of MRSA are coming from my own personal experiences as well as doctors and the internet.
MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA is a “staph” germ that does not get better with the first-line antibiotics that usually cure staph infections.
When this occurs, the germ is “resistant”to the antibiotic.
Causes, incidence, and risk factorsMost staph germs are spread by skin-to-skin contact (touching). A doctor, nurse, other health care provider, or visitors may have staph germs on their body that can spread to a patient.
Once the staph germ enters the body, it can spread to bones, joints, the blood, or any organ, such as the lungs, heart, or brain.
Serious staph infections are more common in people with a weakened immune system. This includes patients who:
- Are in hospitals and long-term care facilities for a long time
- Are on kidney dialysis (hemodialysis)
- Receive cancer treatment or medicines that weaken their immune system
- Inject illegal drugs.
- Had surgery in the past year
- Athletes and other people who may share items such as towels or razors
- Children in day-care
- Members of the military
- People who have gotten tattoos
SymptomsIt is normal for healthy people to have staph on their skin. Many of us do. Most of the time, it does not cause an infection or any symptoms. This is called “colonization” or “being colonized.” Someone who is colonized with MRSA can spread MRSA to other people.
A sign of a staph skin infection is a red, swollen, and painful area on the skin. Pus or other fluids may drain from this area. It may look like a boil. These symptoms are more likely to occur if the skin has been cut or rubbed because this gives the MRSA germ a way to “get in.” Symptoms are also more likely in areas where there is more body hair due to hair follicles.
MRSA infections in patients in health care facilities tend to be severe. These staph infections may be in the bloodstream, heart, lungs, or other organs, urine, or in the area of a recent surgery. Some symptoms of these severe infections are:
- Chest pain
- Cough or shortness of breath
- Fever and chills
- General ill feeling
- Wounds that do not heal
Signs and testsYour doctor may order a “culture.” This is a sample from a wound, blood, urine, or sputum (spit). The sample is sent to the lab for testing. This testing can take a few days to finish.
TreatmentDraining a skin infection may be the only treatment needed for a skin MRSA infection that has not spread. A health care provider should do this procedure. Do not try to pop open or drain the infection yourself. Keep any sore or wound covered with a clean bandage.
Severe MRSA infections are becoming harder to treat. Your lab test results will tell the doctor which antibiotic will treat your infection. Your doctor will follow guidelines about which antibiotics to use and look at your personal health history. MRSA infections that are harder to treat are ones in:
- Lungs or blood
- People who are already ill or have a weak immune system
All this information comes from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004520/
There is also another very information site http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/
Now in basic terms from what I know everyone has staph on their skin. When you hear someone say their wound, cut, scrape etc.. has become "infected" it is usually a type of staph. Whether you are lucky enough to carry the MRSA type staph is not understood. Farrah's doctors told me that it colonized mostly in your nasal passages. This is why they also give you the medication mupirocin to put in your nostrils twice daily for 5 to 7 days for all people in the home of the infected person. It is not understood why certain people acquire the infection if it spreads and why some don't. For example, in my home we have four people and five cats. Farrah and Colin use to take baths together while they were younger. We always seems to end up in bed together, and I was the primary caregiver for her wound care when she had an active infection. At the time I wasn't concerned with using proper precautions and gloves to take care of her, yet I never became infected, nor did my son. My husband might have had an infection. He had something weird going on one time, was give antibiotics and it never returned. It was clusters of painful pimples. It may or may not have been a form a MRSA.
Answers are not clear on this type of bacteria. It was confined to hospital settings and they called it hospital acquired MRSA or HA-MRSA. It wasn't until the late 80's that it started becoming a lot more prevalent in the community where they called it community acquired MRSA or CA-MRSA.
There is so much that is not understood on this subject in healthcare, as well as so many others. I have tried my best to read as much as I could through the internet, books, and talking to doctors.
There is so so so much on this topic. I have poured over everything trying my best as a simple person to understand the facts. I am only coming to you as a mom who has done her best to eradicate her home and life from repeat MRSA infections.
I am hoping to give good helpful information to those who are searching like I was. If I can help anyone, it will feel fantastic. I know how scary and intimidating it can be.
The blog is a work in process, so stay with me as I continue to update our entire journey!
|This was our first trip to the doctor for MRSA round 1|