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What is MRSA & Impetigo-Signs and Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis and -Prevention

Updated on October 23, 2016

MRSA, Act Quickly If You Have Signs of Infection

You can See where the second hand shows swelling called cellulitis caused by a serious case of MRSA
You can See where the second hand shows swelling called cellulitis caused by a serious case of MRSA | Source
This is a photo of an infection filled with pus . The abscess needs to be drained by medical professionals.
This is a photo of an infection filled with pus . The abscess needs to be drained by medical professionals. | Source
This is the beginning of skin infection of MRSA
This is the beginning of skin infection of MRSA | Source
The first slide is a spider bite the second MRSA. The 2 are sometimes mixed up.
The first slide is a spider bite the second MRSA. The 2 are sometimes mixed up. | Source
Watch for early stages . Even a rash with little white pimply sites can be a sign of infection especially when accompanied by red streaks.
Watch for early stages . Even a rash with little white pimply sites can be a sign of infection especially when accompanied by red streaks. | Source
Cover wounds with a bandage to prevent contamination or spreading bacteria to others.
Cover wounds with a bandage to prevent contamination or spreading bacteria to others. | Source
Early Stages of Impetigo or Staph in an infant.
Early Stages of Impetigo or Staph in an infant. | Source

MRSA, STAPH and Flesh Eating Bacteria

MRSA or (Methicillin-Resistant staphylococcus) is a type of bacteria that we are fighting at a rapid pace. The bacteria was first discovered in a British study in 1961. The first outbreak in the US was at the Boston City Hospital in 1968.

The bacteria has become resistant to many antibiotics and has mutated to the point that it can grow quickly within the right environment. The CDC or Center for Disease Control is seeing much improvement on the hospital setting prevention. Everyday we are discovering new ways to disinfect and prevent this and other 'super bugs'.

Basic cleanliness goes a long way. The bacteria is diagnosed by a culture in a petri dish done by a medical professional. Medical attention should be sought quickly anytime you feel you may have been exposed and/ or contracted the infection.

The nose is a common area where Staph lives and a swab inside the nostril can detect if you are carrying Staphylococcus Bacteria. Treatment with 2% Bactroban ointment around and just inside each nostril for 7 days can cause decolonization of the bacteria.

Good hygiene is the largest deterrent to stopping the spread of MRSA. Try to keep your hands away from your face and nose. Be more cognizant of how often you wash your hands, especially if you are in contact with the general public on a regular basis. In homes plain liquid soap is recommended unless someone has an infection. Bar soap can carry germs and should not be used when Super Bugs are in the home. Antibacterial soap is best in Public places and Alcohol water free soap should be used wherever there is no soap and water. Do not use air dryers in public restrooms. Use paper towel and then use it to turn off water and open door.

Alcohol water free soap offers extra protection especially in hospitals and restaurants.

Carry a small container of hand disinfectant with you. Clean your phone, computer keyboard, pens, doorknob, etc. often. Little things to prevent contamination will go a long way. Wipe off shopping carts before you use them and wear flip flops when in a public shower.

(Studies have shown women will not pick up the disease from sitting on a toilet seat!. It is actually safer for a woman to sit on the seat and completely empty her bladder than to risk partial emptying possibly leading to a bladder or kidney infection down the road)

Do try to pick clean bathrooms as much as possible and bring personal wipes in case not soap or water is available.


Children sometimes present with an infection called impetigo. It can be recognized by small red dots that often develop into blisters. (See Photo Above). The blister can be very small to as large as a coin. You do not want to break the blister as it could cause the infection to spread. Impetigo often starts at a part of the child's skin that is already compromised, like a skinned knee. It is caused by a staph or strep infection and is treated with oral antibiotics. Other children in the house may also come down with impetigo. Sometimes the entire household may need to be treated. It is very important to keep the skin lesions clean and covered with antibacterial ointment and a bandage of sometime.

As in all infections do not share personal products like soap and towels, sheets etc. Doctors can often diagnose impetigo from a visual observation. He may send off a sample to be sure.

Your child can usually return to school after 24 hours on antibiotic. Try to discourage scratching by keeping her fingernails short. This is a good practice at all time to prevent getting an infection from a scrape or bug bite anyway.

Washing Hands is the Single Best Thing to do To Stop Spread of Disease

Use Liquid hand soap if someone in your home has an infection.
Use Liquid hand soap if someone in your home has an infection.

Prevention or Staph Infections or MRSA

It appears we may be actually beating the war on MRSA in the hospitals and gyms but what can we do on the home front.

Is there anything we can do on a day to day basis to prevent the infection from invading our bodies without beaming obsessed with germs or a germaphobe . First you need to realize MRSA is preventable and you do not need to live in constant fear of it. Being cautious in most cases you will not contract the disease. Know the signs of serious skin infection i.e. Pain, swelling, open sores that will not heal, red streaks leading away from a cut or boil, heat around an area of broken skin, fever and general malaise.

Anytime the integrity of the skin is compromised there becomes a portal for bacterial to enter the body. Your skin is the first layer of protection against MRSA. Take care of your body and it will take care of you. At the first sign of skin breakdown apply protective lotion and cover the area if necessary. Not only are you protecting yourself but others who may come in contact with you.

We need to remember overuse of antibiotics may have been one of the contributing causes of the development of the Super bugs of today. Whenever you are treated with an antibiotic be sure to finish the complete dose of it to prevent development of a more virulent strain of bacteria.

Our bodies need to be exposed to bacteria to develop healthy immune systems. It has even been proven that parents of young children with dogs have healthier infants and toddlers with fewer colds. The hypothesis is that the pets bring in bacteria or "dirt" and the children are exposed to the germs in small amounts which slowly builds up their immunity. Outdoor dogs were particularly healthful to the children's health in this study.

Infections of MRSA are caused by contamination of staph which lives everywhere and especially around our mouth, nose, genital areas. We should be aware of this without becoming overly obsessed.

It is important to take antibiotics only for bacterial infections and not viral illnesses such as the common cold or flu. You may feel like you are doing something to help your cold but actually causing more harm by rendering antibiotics less useful against the invasion of true bacterial illnesses.

Incidence of MRSA in blood samples in 2008 Source: Wikipedia
Incidence of MRSA in blood samples in 2008 Source: Wikipedia | Source

Step to Prevent the spread of MRSA, Mersa

There are steps to prevent the spread of MRSA, mersa. Listed below you will see a list of steps you can take to keep you and your family safe

  1. Don't share towels, razors, bar soap, etc of other people and risk any cross contamination
  2. When working out at the gym wipe down the equipment with antibacterial wipes prior to using it after the previous person. If this is not possible or impractical keep your hands away from your face and wash just prior to leaving the gym and again when you return home.
  3. Wash your hands regularly. You can try counting the alphabet to be sure that you are washing long enough. Use soap and hot or warm water. Just splashing our hand under the sink after using the bathroom is not enough.
  4. Use a pump soap whenever possible. Contamination from bar soap is not shown to be a problem but it is not as sanitary as pump soap.
  5. Keep your skin free from cuts and rashes and use lotion and bandages to protect it.
  6. Special antibacterial soaps can be more useful to wash cuts and scrapes.
  7. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used when soap and water is not available. Try to keep some anti-bacterial sanitizer with you at all times to use when you can't get to water.
  8. Liquid sanitizer is preferable to wipes as wipes can just spread the germs around.
  9. Dial soap is a good overall indoor soap for PERSONAL soap . I say that with some trepidation because unless you are really dirtily and/ or suspect you might have come in contact with disease causing germs you can use a gentle soap. Remember you want to build your immune system up and there VERY many friendly bacteria in our environment that we need to live with for a healthy life.
  10. Wash sheet, towels, and washcloths in hot water and dry in the dryer which helps to kill germs. This will also help people with allergies to dust mites. Hot water has been proven to better rid your bedding of dust mites than cold or warm.
  11. Washing towels and linens of someone with a wound is especially important. Don't share towels or personal hygiene items of someone with an open wound.
  12. Don't touch cuts or wounds on other people.
  13. One in 100 people carry the MRSA bacteria on their skin without being aware of it.
  14. Shower before bathing in pool and hot tubs and again afterwards.
  15. Any wound dressings, and materials used that have pus from boils should be properly disposed of separate from normal waste and labeled as such.
  16. Be aware of your own skin. If you have a cut or scrape wash it well with proper cleanser. Apply antibiotic ointment and keep it covered.
  17. If you feel an infection is growing or not healing on it's own don't ever be afraid to ask your doctor. Staph grows quickly and can get out of control in no time at all.
  18. Watch for swelling, heat, pain, stiffness, oozing of bacteria and red streaks around your wound.
  19. Wipe public use equipment with a sanitary wipe whenever possible
  20. Eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest and exercise to help your immune system stay as strong as possible.
  21. Carry small containers of hand disinfectant for times when you can't get to soap and water.
  22. Wear flip flops in public areas such as pools, locker rooms, sauna's, public showers.
  23. Don't use bar soap left behind from the person before you. Stock up on liquid bath soap samples to use instead.Never share razors, towels etc which are used for personal use and can be contaminated.
  24. Don't try to lance or drain your own wound or pimples without knowing exactly what you are doing. The danger in this is the chance of cross contamination and causing an infection that was not there in the first place.
  25. Drink plenty of water daily to keep your body free of toxins.
  26. Wash and/or spray contaminated surfaces with antibacterial solution.

Places Where You are At Higher Risk of Contra ting MRSA

1. College Campus'

2. Gyms

3. Prisons

4. Army Barracks

5 Daycare, Schools, Shopping centers

6. Hot tubs, Pools, Even Beaches

7. Homeless Shelters

8. Theme parks, Public Transportation

9. Any place where large numbers of people are gathering.

Knowledge of MRSA

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Care of Wounds, Hibiclens, Bactroban Ointment, who is most susceptible to MRSA

If you do cut yourself and it is not serious wash well using hydrogen peroxide or hibiclens. Apply antibacterial ointment and cover well. Change bandage daily or when it becomes wet or soiled.

If you are caring for another person's wound wash your hands well with hibiclens and wear gloves.

At the first signs of any changes such as increased swelling, pain, redness, Seek medical attention immediately . The drug of choice at this time is Bactrim.

Be diligent about finishing any antibiotic treatment your physician gives you. Failure to finish antibiotic treatment is encouraging the "bug" to come back in a stronger form even more difficult to fight. You are hurting yourself and others.

Get plenty of rest, exercise, and eat a healthy diet and as before drink plenty of healthy fluids

The people most likely to fall prey to MRSA are those with weakened immune systems. the elderly, infants, postoperative patients, people with chronic illnesses and those living in close surroundings.

Good hygiene is essential.

In Conclusion

We as a society have to work together to win the battle against Super bugs. Doctors and scientists are making huge strides in finding the right treatment for this terrible flesh eating infection. They can only win the battle if the public helps by following some of the simple steps I have outlined earlier in this article.


References: WebMD, Wikipedia, Mayo Clinic

CBS News


Submit a Comment
  • profile image

    Gods Butterfly 

    4 years ago

    I have it on my chest and it is growing. Not spreading but getting bigger and sticking out. I am scared it's going to eat me inside and touch my heart and kill me. But If that happens I can manage to go to Heavan I am very sick anyhow.

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    I'm a ex nurse and had mrsa treated by a Dr as a fever blister out of control. My face was covered by lesions & I had 1 cut on my elbow. By the time I made it to the hospital I had a severe systemic infection. I was training a puppy for my grand daughter who passed it from his nasal passages. I almost died. To this day-8mo. Later my health is not the same. I don't remember much of my Hosp. Stay. I have preached to everyone about proper hand washing etc. But In today's super germ society I don't think this is enough. Koodos to you!!

  • mary615 profile image

    Mary Hyatt 

    5 years ago from Florida

    This is a real problem, and everyone needs to do their share in prevention. Good interesting and informative Hub!

    Voted UP, etc.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    I just want to thank u for educating people and caring god bless

  • nancynurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy McClintock 

    7 years ago from Southeast USA

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Important information for everyone here. It is difficult not to obsess about superbugs once you learn about them unless we are informed about the essentials of prevention and treatment.

  • nancynurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy McClintock 

    8 years ago from Southeast USA

    Great idea. So glad your daughter is doing better. My husband had one on his hand that had red streaks leading away from it before he told me. We got him on antibiotics right away.

  • VirginiaLynne profile image

    Virginia Kearney 

    8 years ago from United States

    My oldest daughter had three of these infections in a two year period. She was one of the first in our town to get community aquired MRSA infections (2003 or so). The last one landed her in the hospital because we couldn't get it to stop spreading. They used IV antibiotics for 4 days which finally worked. Once she started on the local swim team, she had no more infections. We think the constant washing away of her skin bacteria by cholorine water helped her to rid her body of the bad bacteria and colonize it with better bacteria. What we learned: if you have a wound which is getting red, draw a line around the redness with sharpie marker. If the redness spreads in 6 hours or so, you should get medical attention. These infections can be life threatening if they are not dealt with within a few days.

  • profile image

    The Garlic Bath Co. 

    8 years ago

    For those suffering from MRSA, there are very effective natural remedies available A garlic extract, called Allicin, is a natural antimicrobial and it kills methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and all forms of staph, 100%. This is scary stuff and an epidemic on every continent. Learn more and protect yourself.

  • nancynurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy McClintock 

    8 years ago from Southeast USA

    I will look that up. Thank you for taking the time to write. We all need to be aware of the symptoms. I so appreciated your comments.

  • frogyfish profile image


    8 years ago from Central United States of America

    Good info and comments on MRSA. Yucky pictures...ugh! Thank you for sharing this needed information. Would like also to see more experience with herbal anti-infective essential oils, which also have been shown to be effective in fighting MRSA. You sound like a good writer to do just that!

  • Julie DeNeen profile image

    Blurter of Indiscretions 

    8 years ago from Clinton CT

    This stuff scares me!!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I remember working in the NICU with MRSA everywhere. Since then it's spread out of the hospital into the general public. Thanks for sharing this helpful hub. Voted up and shared! Kelley


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