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MRSA Definitions

Updated on March 27, 2012
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When I read the question today I knew I had to write a hub to make others aware of this disease. My best friend's Mom has MRSA. She was infected during a hospital stay and it has comprised her health quite a few times. I had never heard of this bacterial infection until this happened. Believe me, my friend and I did quite a lot of research to help us understand what her Mom had, how it could be treated and that what her prognostics was. She was and has been treated over the past 5 years and each time we think this is it, she pulls through, she is one tough cookie!

MRSA, Methicillin Staphylococcus Aureus is a type of bacteria and can cause infections in various parts of your body. The bacteria is harder to treat than most because it is resistant to the common antibiotics such as amoxicillin and penicillin.

This bacteria can either affect a person's exterior, causing skin irritation, creates blisters and can produce sores. However, if a person has recently had surgery, has a cut or any open wound the bacteria can enter the the body causing a much more serious infection. The bloodstream, lungs or urinary tract. It can infect surgical wounds, basically any open wound a person may have. If the lungs are infected a person is likely to come down with pneumonia.

MRSA is spread by contact and tends to affect people who's immune system isn't very strong. There are known cases of surgical patients contacting this bacteria while in the hospital. The elderly are susceptible therefore many nursing homes take extra precautions when administering to any of the patients. The precautions protect the patients as well. Those who have weak immune systems are susceptible.

The bacteria is spread by touching someone who has it on their skin or touching objects that may have the bacteria on it such as hospital implements, a cup, silverware, basically you have a chance of getting the bacteria onto your person if you touch something a person already infected has touched.

Now, let's get down to the basics. What are the Symptons? How do they test for the bacteria? What is the treatment? What are the preventative steps?

Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Tired - more than usual
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Chest pain
  • Rash
  • Shortness of breath

Signs / Tests:

  • Blood culture
  • Urine culture
  • Culture from wound site
  • Culture from drainage from the wound site
  • Sputum culture - special test that will take fluid from the airway and lungs

Treatment:

  • Skin blisters must be drained by a doctor.
  • The blisters or irritated area must be covered by medical bandages only -- these are sterilized. Do not pop or try to drain these yourself!!
  • If given antibiotics take as directed until you've completed the cycle.
  • Depending on the severity of the infection some may receive medication through an IV, may need oxygen or kidney dialysis, if the kidney begin to fail )

Prevention:

  • Always clean your hands with alcohol based hand sanitizer. If visiting someone in the hospital or at a nursing home wash your hands when you enter and when you leave.
  • Clean all wounds with antibacterial soap, dry carefully and bandage the wounds. Keep them covered until they heal.
  • Avoids contact with other people's wounds. If they can't bandage their own, wash your hands before you clean their wound, after you've cleaned it, bandage the wound and wash your hands again.
  • Don't share personal items, towels, razors, make up, cups, hairbrushes, even clothes.
  • Wash your hands before playing any sports and wash them when the game is over.
  • Shower right after exercising, do not share your soap or towels.
  • If using gym equipment wash it down with alcohol wipes.
  • Follow all precautions established at hospitals.
  • Don't use a whirlpool, sauna or swimming pool if you see someone with an open wound.
  • Make sure any medical professional examining you or your children wash their hands before the examination begins.

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