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Is MRSA Contagious?

Updated on December 7, 2010

There is nothing worse then seeing one of your family members, friends or roommates getting sick. Yes, it is very saddening to see them in pain, but there is also something in the back of your head hoping that you do not catch whatever is making them feel so horrible. Contagious viruses and diseases are all over the place floating around in the air and on our bodies. Some are more harmful than others. Staph infections are incredibly contagious, and one of the most contagious is the MRSA staph infection.


MRSA, as like other staph infections, is found on a persons skin or in their nose. The spread of the infection is very easy. A brush against someone's side, or even being around when someone is sneezing could potentially cause the spread of the disease. They call MRSA a Superbug because of how incredibly easy it is to spread the infection. The interesting thing with MRSA however, is that healthy people can carry and spread the MRSA. The only time you can truly become affected buy it, is if it enters the body, usually through a cut or break in the skin. However, people with weakened immune systems are more likely to be easily effected by MRSA.

MRSA infections are more commonly to happen in hospitals and other similar places like nursing homes. The spread of this infection is easier because the people in these places already have weakened immune systems or are very old. However, MRSA in recent years has started to become more dangerous, appearing in places other than health care institutions. The infection can appear in people who have not been hospitalized or had any surgery within the past year. Even people without weakened immune systems have contracted the infection. About 12% of all MRSA infections are now community-based infections, with the number rapidly increasing.

As stated early, spreading this Superbug is incredibly easy. The only way to prevent the spread, even if you don't know you have it, it though proper hygiene. Keeping your hands clean, as well as any cuts or scrapes clean and covered is the best way to prevent the spread. Not sharing personal items like towels, clothing and combs are also ways to stop the spread of MRSA and other staph infections. MRSA is a serious infection and it is important to not take things lightly.


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    • Health Card profile image

      Evie Dawson 3 years ago

      Thanks for sharing... A lot of cases occur in kids who are playing sports that involve lots of skin-to-skin contact.

      Read more:

    • profile image

      Larry 5 years ago

      I am currently fighting a MRSA infection on the inside of my right buttock. I tried to pop a zit there and it got infected. It burst on its own and is now oozing and bleeding. My Doc prescribed me Bactrim by mouyh 2 times daily, Mupirocin to smear in each nostril twice dailt, and hibiclense to wash my body with. Wash your hands often and ALWAYS after dealing with the wound, even if gloves are used. Cover the wound and then leave it alone except to change the bandage. Wear underwear and shorts to prevent anyone in the house from getting infected.

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      lost cause 6 years ago

      I went to the hospital for bloodwork, the lab tech taking the blood asked me to hold the cotton ball on puncture site while she retrieved band aid. As I lifted my finger the cotton ball came off on my dry skin, she grabbed the cotton, turned it 180 degrees (now blood spot on top and where I was pressing is against puncture) and band aided it. The next day I start having boils all over my legs, went to the same hospitals clinic 4 days later and was told it was staph and to take the 2 antibiotics twice daily and to drain the pus with a needle? Two of the 7 boils were larger than golf balls and extremely painful. Why in the hell would this so called dr not lance and drain these boils. Now it's getting into my blood, I have very little drainage and will have to go to the ER or another DR. I'm about ready to just give up.

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      becky 6 years ago

      what is MRSA because i don't know what it is and my frined has got it and i tuched them spot because i thought it was a normal spot so does that mean that i will catch it aswell because i am starting to get worried now

    • Donald1960 profile image

      Donald 6 years ago from United States

      Very educative hub. MRSA is very dangerous disease and everyone should know some basic facts.

    • profile image

      Rose 6 years ago

      Are you still contagious IF you don't have an outbreak? I have a relative who has had MRSA & he treats on his own & is always complaining "it's back, I think it's coming back". Is he contagious??? How do I know if he's a carrier?

    • profile image

      Deb K 6 years ago

      Very interesting site!! my daughter is autistic only one in the family.She always was a sick child she has had Mrsa skin infection 3 times in a 1yr 1/2 never got bad bad because I now know what to look for but....I am going to a specialist soon! Deb k

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      royce 6 years ago

      i got a tattoo at the end of june. unknown to me at the time the tattooist had MRSA. about 5 days after i got my tattoo i got what looked like a boil just above my inked location. it ruptured and was pus filled. I went to the ER. was told i had MRSA. now before i go any further, i work in the operating room and have had many patients with MRSA, HIV etc. never once have i gotten sick. A little over a year ago my job forced a flu vaccine on us or lose our jobs. i had a bad reaction to the vaccine which weakened my immune system and that is what made me susceptible. a few days after my initial treatment i was back in the ER with a second cellulitis that took up my entire side. extremely painful. was admitted for 3 days. went home on different antibiotics. less then a week latre was running a fever of 102 and was hospitalized for 8 days. vancomycin is the antibiotic of choice but horrific on the veins. well i had a bad reaction to that in my kidneys, called neprotoxicity. i can now not use that drug. i am on a last line antibiotic called zyvox or linezoid and it is extremely expensive and most insurance companies wont cover it. for a 2 week cycle is near 4 grand. and taking it for longer than 2 weeks you risk permanent nerve damage or blindness. it cleared up. less then 2 weeks after being finshed a 3 and a half week cycle of zyvox i developed another abcess. i got my self to the hospital quick. a week later i am still having to pack my wound everyday and back on the only antibiotic that will work for me inspite of the risks. what some ppl who are not medically trained don't know about MRSA is that staph is on everyones skin. someone who has MRSA it is life long and need to make sure any medical personel know that you have it for everyones protection. you can get repeat infections from pets that have been exposed to someone with it. or even just going to the store or shaking hands with someone. i make sure i lysol and bleach all surfaces and thankfully 3 months after my initial infection no one else has gotten it from me. keep it covered. wash before and after dressing it. keep hand sanatizer on hand for yourself and visitors. stay away from immunocompromised ppl...diabetis, cancer or anyone with chronic illness. anyone can get it or carry it.....

    • profile image

      Mariah 7 years ago

      My husband had these boils over a year ago, treated them topically with Ichthammol ointment 20% and he cleaned them with soap and water, put the ointment on, and covered them with bandages. Finally they popped and he got out a hard core. The sore got to be over 1 inch wide. They finally all healed. But now he has them again and I've learned the info about MRSA. He also has congestion which he thought to be allergies, which he usually gets this time of year. Now I know it may turn into pneumonia and be life-threatening. Thank God for the internet and sites that inform us of these things. He'll be home from working out of state in three days. He has been using the ointment and bandages, but now I have so much more information to share with him. Pray for his speedy recovery as we use the knowledge I've obtained from the internet. His name is John.

    • profile image

      Hi 7 years ago

      My great aunt has it and I'm worried because my grandmother or her Sis jut died Soo I hope she doesn't

    • profile image

      corleone 7 years ago

      I had Mrsa last year and its very contagious and painfull I suggest go c a Dr. Get bactrim and cream ...don't touch it ...don't squeeze the puss out ...when u get ur meds be safe bactrim is really strong take proper does the job...

    • profile image

      0x Baxter 7 years ago

      Very informative Article. Just one typographical error I'd like to correct:

      "it though proper hygiene" should be "IS THROUGH proper hygiene" :).

    • profile image

      tammy 7 years ago

      I had a vein removed in my leg and ended up with Mrsa. I'm on bactrim for the Mrsa and amoxicillin for my leg to heal up. I'm scared of this returning and scared to go see my new grandbaby. It seems to be gone now, but i read where a lot of people get it more than once. It was very itchy and painful!!!!

    • profile image

      Grace 7 years ago

      I have been under the care of drs for 5 years with leg wounds I have Mrsa it goes away when I take bactrin but I have shared my bed with my husband this whole time and he has no sign of mrsa or any infection I think if it's kept clean and wrapped you are not just going to spread it

    • profile image

      Josh 7 years ago

      Do you know what the "black plague"is?It sounds exactly like it!They got huge boils,sores,and they had pus inside,all over the body,which gave them high fevers,and horrible infections.And,it was very very contagious;they used to cut off whole villages,and cities,and burn sounds exactly like it.And,it was so catching,it was almost impossible to be anywhere around it.It wiped out most of the population of Europe,or,at least a half of it.Yeah,nothing would cure it,you were a gonner.Big,strong,young warriors would get it,and even they died.At least now they do not put leaches on you,for it.ha ha.Or,throw you into a barbed wire enclosure,with other patients,to die.

    • profile image

      Dee 7 years ago

      My mom is in a nursing home and was diagnosed with MSRA. No one mentioned it being contagious... She is brought out of her room, put in a public area where we all visit her because of other problems she has.. What can I do about this??????

    • profile image

      G34jue 7 years ago

      I had MRSA fore 3 years i would go on medication and 2 weeks later it was back again. This went on for 3 years!

      I went to an infectious disease specialist, had i biopsy, blood tests and swabs. The biopsy was inconclusive and so was all the other tests. No one else ever contracted it from me even though they were around me and touching it without knowing. I hadn't been in hospital and had no idea how i contracted it.

      It was a mystery

      I later found out that the only medication that would work, i was reistant to so we now had no idea what to do.

      I went to a dermatologist and am now on acne medication. My MRSA is now controlled

    • profile image

      melissa 7 years ago

      I just found out that i have mrsa it started out looking like a pimple but as the days went on it started to get worse plus it started to hurt a lot more i went to the ER and they cut it open and then they drained it and packed it but now im on an antibiotic called Bactrim and its kinda working the infection seems to be getting better.. im hoping so anyways. but it is a bad infection that can be very deadly and can cause you to be hospitalized so the people with it please be careful and take all your medications and do what your doctor says

    • dmleon profile image

      dmleon 7 years ago from California


      the bites may actually be bites. The real issue is that all of us have MRSA on our skin. Where the problem begins is when the area becomes infected and the infection spreads. It is always good to be tested if the problem persists or gets worse. But if they are spider bites they should clear up and not get any worse. As for your bites you may want to have your physician look at them for peace of mind.

    • profile image

      linda 7 years ago

      my friend came over yeterday to sleepover and i didn't know she had MRSA.I read something about MRSA looking like spider bites and after she was here i have like 7 bites!well they look like bites!she didn't tell the nurse at school or a doctor..should i tell her to?should she be in school?

    • profile image

      December 2009 Nite Mare 8 years ago

      Please everyone that reads this, please if you have MRSA go to the doctors and get ur meds. Please tell your partner and what ever you do please do not pop it if you do it will spread!

      Take care everyone and don't forget to tell your partner if you have MRSA! Remember do not pop them!

    • profile image

      julia 8 years ago

      ive had mrsa it started out as looking like a spider bite and it was on my butocks and then when it popped its continuosly bled for two days then when it healed it had a black mark the best thing to do is go to ur doctor they will proscribe u medicine and pop it send it to the lab and get the test bak when it came bak they found out it was mrsa and i found out it was caused by bacteria and sweat and not bathing regularly but if ur scared to go to the doctor go to a drug store and by neosporin and put it on it.but if u get like ur 2nd or 3rd one GO TO THE DOCTOR i got 4 so yea they look like spider bites and r VERY VERY VERY painful so try preventing them thank you for reading this i took time to write this

    • profile image

      Cassy 8 years ago

      That zit popping thing on Facebook was not mersa, it didn't look like any of the pictures that I have seen on MRSA. To me it looked like a sebaceous cyst, which looks exactly like what is on the video and smells the way that the people on the video describe it. Probably not smart to do with out gloves or a doctor though.

    • profile image

      Anya 8 years ago

      There's a video going around on FB, about these people who are popping a huge "zit" on this guy's back. That's not a zit!! They were popping MRSA...and the girl wasn't using gloves. She touched it and ooh she probably got it too.


    • profile image

      ALLISON 8 years ago

      My step son has recently be diagnosed and hospitalized for MRSA in his eye. He is ten years old, his younger brother is nine, and his sister is six. Reading information on this really worries me about his well being. I also feel extremely selfish because i do not want him in my home for a while. I have a two year old daughter. How do we know when MRSA is healed? If he were to come over for the weekend, would it be sufficient to make him bathe daily, change his clothes often, and wash his hands frequently? His mother does not require high levels of hygiene from these children. any advice on how I can protect my child while not alienating my step children?

    • profile image

      DAISY 8 years ago


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      Sarah 8 years ago

      Ok I have to respond here... only because both my husband and I battled MRSA for over 2 years. His infections were always worse than mine and one of them almost took his life. In response to the pimple on your sons head... it very well could have been MRSA. My only thoughts that it may not have been is the fact that you didn't report it as coming back. MRSA will return over and over again unless you get it properly treated. But the reason you couldn't get any puss out of it by squuezing is because the infection/puss weaves itself into the tissue so it doesn't draw to the surface and "bust" (for lack of a better word). This is how mine always went. I shaved my legs and then a few days later a pimple would appear. Then it would turn into a large bull's eyes looking wound... very painful! I recall it being VERY hot and feeling like it was going to burst through my skin. It hurt to stand due to the blood pressure in my leg. Ugh! It hurts to think back on it. But anyway, I would sit in a hot bath for hours squeezing and squeezing and squeezing. I could see the puss but it wouldn't come out. Eventually I could get it to how you described: to the point were you could dig it out. It would come out like a plug and leave about a quarter inch diameter in width and depth hole in my leg. They gave me the horse pills and mine would always clear up. (That is until the a week or two later.. sometimes not showing up again for a few month.) My husband was a completely different story. His would show up randomly it seemed... and they were completely resistant to the horse pills. He was hospitalized about 5 to 6 times in a one to two year period. They had to give him at least 2 to 3 days worth of VM..IV antibiotics. The one that almost took his life was on his back. He got septicemia from it. And to give you a clue of how fast septicemia set in... he got the initial wound on a tuesday, Thursday night he was complaining of feeling very sick (like an ear infection or something). Took him to the hospital that night with his wbc off the chart! He was in the hospital for over a week. They ended up cutting about a 3 inch chunk out of his back, which he had to pack with dry gauze and have pulled out and repacked every day. Poor baby! :( Eventually we saw an ID doc who gave us the liquid soap and nose cream. After that it never came back. But MRSA is NO JOKE! It is very very contagious.. (why would they have sent us to an infectious disease doctor if it wasn't?!) If you or someone you know has it I would personally avoid them like the plague... if you can't than make sure you wash your hands every single time you come in contact with not only them but ANYTHING they may have touched recently. What is super super scary is VRSA!!! The one antibiotic that saved my husband from this terrible bug now has formed a resistance to it... the true super bug.

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      Patty 8 years ago

      My 17 year old daughter just found out her boil, now open wound,is in fact mrsa. Doc got her on strong antibiotic within 1 week of the first tiny pimple forming. I've been bleaching the bathroom and she's been using antibacterial soap often during the dressing changes (will do the hydrogen peroxide, thanks Sarge). She did do her CNA training in a nursing home about 6 months ago - could it be dormant so long, OR, we just came back from a trip where 8 teenagers shared a cabin, shower, and unfortunately beach towels (came home two days before pimple). Also, tell me about airborne mrsa. I have had a reoccuring cough for a month or two. Could I me a carrier, and would that show up as a skin wound on her? Sorry about all the questions - All new to us and pretty unsettling.We just want to make sure we tell the right people to watch out for things. If someone had just told Nancy's sister(above) the right info! One last thought, Kelli's grandma, my mother-in-law just battled shingles for the last 4 months, some contact with Kelli, more contact with me - any connection. Thanks again - Patty

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      JJoddie 8 years ago

      I kissed my Mom on the forehead and she kissed me on the cheek.. then 4days later I discovered that she had MRSA... can I get it? I am asmatic

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      speedyqltr 8 years ago

      Both my husband and I were visiting an older woman in the hospital after major surgery, and 24 hours later found out that she was MRSA+.

      We are healthy, for the most part, no immune deficiencies anyhow, but I did have surgery a year ago.

      We shook hands with her, and she had been sniffling when I was in her room............should we be worried?

    • profile image

      wayne 8 years ago

      I think MRSA is contagious. I have done a lot of research into MRSA and I feel that it is.

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      shay 9 years ago

      To Big Sarge,

      What your son had was not a pimple or MSRA it was a "carbuncle" It looks like a pimple, but the skin is discolored and there's a hard knot inside the skin. The next time he gets one use hot compresses or depending where it is take a hot bath. That will draw that pus out, and it will go away. Trust me I know what I'm talking about.

    • tona37211 profile image

      Tonya Kirkpatrick 9 years ago from Nashville TN

      My son was a premature baby and contracted it in the nicu (in a safe and clean envirorment) he had gotten MRSA phenomnia and it just about killed him. We were told that he had a 20%chance of recovering and was given nitric oxcide. had been on that for several days and eventually it got better. but it did scar his lungs. it sucked for us ad ever since then we have ptsd cause of all the calls in the night saying he got worse and we had a chance of lossing him. we still worry about it all the time.

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 9 years ago from Cape Town

      I picked up MRSA after a big operation in 2004. Not pleasant at all. The drip they put you on is very painful as the antibiotic they pump into you stings in your veins. The bonus, if you can have one that is, is that forever more I always have to have a private room as it's on my record that I was MRSA positive, even though it was 5 years ago!

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      Big Sarge 9 years ago

      My Daughter just graduated from Army Basic Training and she caught it 3 times over a 14 wk period. She went to the clinic on Post and the Dr. told her that everyone has it in some form or another due to the closeness of people in Army conditions. He gave her a shot all 3 times, told her to ensure it was covered while it was open and/or oozing. All three times it was gone within a week. She got it in 3 different places: Outside of Elbow, Back of Knee, painful one, and under left arm. Don't know what the military is using but, if they can't cure it, they sure can stop it fast. My son had a pimple on his forehead that turned in MRSA after he wouldn't stop picking at it. Dr. gave us Horse Pills and cream to use. We washed it frequently, took the pills faithfully and it wouldn't clear up. We resorted to opening the resulting bump and attacking it with cotton swabbs dipped in Hydrogen peroxide. WE used the perodice on the open would 3 to 4 times a day, ensuring that any products we used went into their own bags. After 3 days of squeezing out puss the would opened up enough that we could see a ball of puss that would not come out. We pulled it out with tweezers, nasty looking thing, and the oozing and inflamation stopped almost overnight. Took another few days for the swelling and tenderness to abate but the hole closed on its own within about a week and has not returned. WE kept using the peroxide 2 or 3 times a while the wound was open and it worked very well. My suggestion is to use peroxide and just kill the heck out of it. Ensure that it stays covered so that no one else can get infected. No further outbreaks.

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      Nancy 9 years ago

      My sister died ten days after her birthday last August 2007 from the MRSA staph infection. I was very mad when I read an article in the paper how there had been no deaths due to MRSA in the state of Delaware so far. Bull, my sister died in Wilmington Hospital. And what makes it even worse is that about a month before she ended up in the hospital 2 days after her birthday her primary care doctor told her she had this infection. My question to them is why didn't they put her in the hospital and start IV antibiotics on her? They didn't even give her a prescription for antibiotics and there was a whole month and a half that she could have been spreading it to others. She worked for Costco and was one of the servers of sample foods. I often have to wonder if anyone who tried those samples caught it. Her death haunts me daily and since she died from this I have become a real germaphobic. Right after she died they started talking about it a lot on the news, if they had said something sooner I would have taken her myself to the hospital and demanded she get help, and that would have spared my family and her friends from worrying about if we caught it from her after we found out what she had. But the CDC seemed to want to keep it a big secret at the time even though they knew about it for years. Maybe the government started to control never know, neither will I.

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      Patrick 9 years ago

      Is MRSA contagious even after you've started anitbiotics?

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      vicky 9 years ago

      can mrsa be contagious by drinking from the same bottle or straw?

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      mustang 9 years ago

      it's horrible! and veryy contagious! i got MRSA through a resident i work with!!!

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      ace productions 9 years ago from Philadelphia Pa

      YES YES. what ever you don't touch it. praying your taking antibiotics, don't scratch it can spread. you don't want this to get into your blood stream. good luck and hopefully it gets resolved. remember anything wet sweaty and closed up grows bacteria and can promote MRSA children should be taught about cleaning such things as sports equip daily and clothing. and do not share your personal items with anyone.

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      Kris Parker 9 years ago

      YES< it is very contgious and should be reported to the local health dept in the area you are if it was not gotten in a hospital. It is a staph resistance to antibiotics and can be very bad to someone with sompromised immune. The local health dept, tracks areas and tries to see the orgination. Please be careful and do not take it lightly. Let your friend know how serious it is and where they may have picked it up. If you need more help you can contact

      it is a foundation and is helpful with these issues.



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