What is MRSA?
Staphylococci or “staph” are bacteria that commonly live in the noses and on the skin of healthy people. Usually, the bacteria does not cause any harm. When it does, only minor infections generally occur. Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are specific strains (or types) of bacteria that frequently cause skin infections that have become resistant to some but not all antibiotics. Resistance means that the bacteria does not respond to commonly used antibiotics.
MRSA infections can occur in people of all ages in the community, including schools, daycare centers, military barracks, correctional facilities, and households.
What does MRSA look like? How is it spread?
“Staph” skin infections often begin when the bacteria enters the body through an opening in the skin. Common signs of any skin infection include redness, warmth, swelling, tenderness of the skin, and boils or blisters. MRSA is often mistaken for a “spider bite”.
It's important to know that not all skin infections are caused by MRSA. Not all skin infections are antibiotic-resistant. Only specific testing can identify the specific type of “staph” germ causing the infection.
MRSA can be transmitted through prolonged skin to skin contact or through surfaces or objects recently contaminated with drainage from an open lesion (sore).
How is MRSA treated?
Prompt medical attention is essential for any suspicious wound or lesion of the skin. Antibiotics may not always be prescribed as treatment of a “staph” skin infection, including MRSA. Sometimes, incision and drainage (opening the lesion to drain the infection) is the only necessary treatment. It is important to follow the physician's instructions and keep him or her informed of any changes. As always, if antibiotics are prescribed, take them as prescribed and finish ALL doses
How can “Staph” skin infections be prevented?
Good handwashing and hygiene practices, along with education, are keys to the prevention and control of illness, including MRSA in schools and non-school settings. Mass screenings, cancellation of extracurricular activities or closing of schools or other facilities are not recommended as measures to reduce the spread of infection.
Encourage frequent hand washing! - after play, before eating, and, as always, after using the restroom. Alcohol-based sanitizers can be effective for periodic use, but should not replace the use of soap and water.
Use bath time and clothing change to interact with your child and inspect skin areas for any unusual rash, redness or breaks. Report any signs of infection to his/her doctor
Keep cuts and scrapes clean with soap and water and covered with a bandage
If area is unable to be covered, contact sports or activities should be avoided until infection has healed.
Encourage your child to avoid touching bandage and affected area.
Encourage child to keep fingers out of his eyes, nose and ears.
Do not share personal items such as blankets, soiled towels or clothing. Take soiled items home to be washed.
Maintain a clean environment. Pay attention to cleaning of play equipment after use with a diluted-bleach solution or germicidal disinfectant. This includes tables, play mats, sleeping cots or personal sports gear, such as helmets.
BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - http://www.cdc.gov/