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MRSA- A Deadly Spreading Infection

Updated on September 9, 2014

What MRSA Is And How To Protect Yourself

MRSA infection is caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria - often called "staph." MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It's a strain of staph that's resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it, MRSA can be fatal.


MRSA belongs to the large group of bacteria known as Staphylococci, often referred to as Staph. About 25%-30% of all people have Staph within the nose, but it normally does not cause an infection. In contrast, only about 1% of the population have MRSA.Each year, Americans make more than 12 million visits to doctors for skin infections typical of those caused by staph infections. In some areas of the United States, MRSA accounts for more than half of such skin infections.


In a July 2008 study,conducted in the University of California, from 1997-2005,During that time period, office and emergency room visits for all skin infections rose from 8.6 million nationwide to 14.2 million, according to Adam Hersh, MD, PhD, lead author on the paper and a fellow in the divisions of general pediatrics and of pediatric infectious diseases. Meet the enemy headon with information and ways to keep this nasty infection away from your loved ones.


Did you know that 60% of all MRSA infections are now community based, which means that they were acquired away from a healthcare setting?

Where You Get MRSA

Not only in healthcare , but in the general community as well

Most MRSA occurs in healthcare settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, physician offices anywhere where infection is treated. That is often referred to as Health Care MRSA. Older people, chronically ill, and those with weakened immune systems can be prone to this type of infection.


But now, there is also community based MRSA which has been occurring in otherwise healthy people. This community based MRSA is known to cause serious skin and soft tissue infection. It has also been responsible for a serious form of pneumonia.

Where On Your Body

Does MRSA Occur

Bloodstream

Lungs

Heart

Bones

Joints

How Do You Get MRSA

Where MRSA Comes From

MRSA is a strain of staph that's resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it.

Staph infection (MRSA) can be found on the skin or in the nose of about 1/3 of the population. Most staff infections are generally harmless, unless they enter though an open sore or cut.And even then it will only cause a minor problem in healthy people.


But in those people who have weakened immune systems, the bacteria can be deadly.


A large concern has been serious infections have been occurring in otherwise healthy people in the community, for example athletes who share equipment or personal items.

Signs and Symptoms

MRSA infections can produce the following signs and symptoms. Rememeber, you should always see your doctor when you suspect that you have a seru=ioous infection.

  • Cellulitis-infection of the skin or the fat and tissues that lie immediately beneath the skin, usually starting as small red bumps in the skin),
  • Boils-(pus-filled infections of hair follicles),
  • Abcesses-collections of pus in under the skin),
  • Sty-(infection of eyelid gland),
  • Carbunkles-(infections larger than an abscess, usually with several openings to the skin), and
  • Impetigo-(a skin infection with pus-filled blisters).

Overused Antibiotics-The Making of A Superbug

Do we bear some responsibility?

This bacteria has mutated to the poiunt where it is becoming resistant to antibiotics. And to an extent we all bear the burden. Like other superbugs, MRSA is the result of decades of excessive and unnecessary antibiotic use. For years we have been using antibiotics for things like colds and flu, which would have in most cases resolved themselves.


Even when prescription drugs have been used correctly,they have contributed to the rise in the problem, cause they do not kill every germ.So the germ learns to resist that drug and the next one until it becomes strong enough to resist all, but a handful of antibiotics.


Antiobiotics have also founbd their way into our water supply through livestock and feedlots.

Risk Factors For Community MRSA - Identify Your Personal Risks

This is the MRSA that you are exposed it every day.

  • A Young Age-It can be particularly dangerous in infants and children.This is because their atuoimmune system is not fully developed,or they do not have the resistance to germs built up in their bodies.Children and young adults are also much more likely to develop dangerous forms of pneumonia from MRSA than older people are.
  • Contact Sports- If you participate in contact sports, you can get MRSA.It spreads easily through cuts and abrasions as well as skin to skin contact.Sharing towels, razors, uniforms or equipment among athletes, young or old,can spread this type of infection.
  • Having a weakened immune system puts you at risk.Any sti immune diease will increase your chance of getting this infection.
  • Living in crowded or unsanitary living conditions-Outbreaks of community MRSA have broken out in military baracks and prisons, here and abroad.

Risk Factors For Healthcare MRSA

  • A Current Or Recent Hospitalization-Anyone who has been in hospital for more than 14 days, has had surgery, suffered a burn or has had sertious health issues can be at a higher risk.
  • Living In A Long Term Healthcare Facility-Staph or MRSA is prevelent in these types of facilities
  • Invasive Devices-Anyone who has had a catheter of any kind placed,are on dialysis, have feeding tubes, or any other invasive device are at increased risk.
  • Recent Antibiotic Use- using some antibiotics, especially over a long period of time,places you at a higher risk

My Fight With Staff

What It Took To Get Over It

After a prolonged issue with a wound that just refused to heal, I noticed an odor and some green material coming from it. After calling it to the attention of the home care nurse, I wound up in the emergency room of our local hospital. A culture of the wound and an antibiotic followed and what was decided was that I had a heavy staph infection, but no MRSA. The fatigue and the infection was enough to set my recovery back several weeks. There were lingering effects from this infection. I can tell you not to take any infected wound lightly. I took action right away, so I know I prevented the infection from getting worse.

MRSA Prevention Tip

Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with sterile, dry bandages until they heal. The pus from infected sores may contain MRSA, and keeping wounds covered will help keep the bacteria from spreading.

Treatment For Staph (MRSA)

Both hospital- and community-associated strains of MRSA still respond to certain medications. In hospitals and care facilities, doctors often rely on the antibiotic vancomycin to treat resistant germs. Community based MRSA can be treated with vancomycin and some other antibiotics that have proved effective against certain strains of the germ. Hospitals, however are already seeing some resistance to vancomycin. Some abcesses may be more treatable by draining rather than drugs.

Wash Those Hands - We can't Say It Enough

THe one thing that you can do above others to prevent MRSA is to wash your hands

New Epidemic of MRSA in Children

MRSA Head and Neck Infections in Children Jump 16.3% in 6-Year Period

In January, 2009, researchers from Emory Hospital announced an "alarming rise"in antibiotic-resistant head and neck infections in young children in recent years.Researchers stated that more and more elementary students are developing MRSA (staph infection) in the head and neck. The doctors believe that MRSA is a contributing factor in every infection of these sites.

These infections are not responding to the antibiotic methicillin.

For the study, Iman Naseri, MD, and colleagues from Emory's department of otolaryngology reviewed pediatric head and neck infection records from more than 300 hospitals in the U.S. between 2001 and 2006.

The authors say their results "depict an alarming increase in MRSA in the United States." They encourage more rapid testing of suspected head and neck infections so that caregivers may prescribe the appropriate antibiotic treatment immediately. Using the wrong antibiotics or using antibiotics to treat a viral infection (such as a cold) can lead to further drug resistance, according to the FDA.

Source: Naseri, I. Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, January 2009; vol 135: pp 14-16.

...Make sure to remember to sanitize your cellphone.It can be a hotbed for the superbug

Hand Sanitizers

At home or on the road, hand sanitzers provide a second option to wash, when soap and water is not easy to come by.Have some handy at work, in the car, in your purse or diaper bag. Carry some when you travel !

MRSA Prevention Tip

Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment. MRSA spreads on contaminated objects as well as through direct contact.

How To Prevent MRSA

In the hospital or in the communnity you have the power to help prevent you and your loved ones from getting a staph(MRSA).According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention MRSA and other staff infections occur most frequently, outside the hospital setting occur most often where people are crowding, have skin to skin contact, compromized skin (cuts or abrasions), contaminated items and surfaces, and lack of cleanliness.

Here are some steps you can take to avoid contacting MRSA or other staff infections.

  • Ask all hospital staff including doctors, to wash their hands or to use an alcohol based hand santizer before touching you or your loved ones

    All hospitals have requirements about hand washing, so make sure that they do it in your presence, so you know it was done.

  • Make sure that any catherters, IV Tubes are inserted in sterile conditions
  • Wash your hands frequently

    That means scrubbing the hands briskly for 15 seconds at least, patting them dry with a paper towel and then using another towel to turn the facet off.Carry a sanitizer that has 60% alcohol for when you don't have access to soap and water.

  • Keep Your Personal Items Personal

    Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment. MRSA spreads on contaminated objects as well as through direct contact

  • Keep all wounds covered with sterile dry bandages until they heal Keeping wounds covered may help prevent any infection from spreading
  • Shower after any athletic game or practiceUse soap and water and do not share any towels
  • Sit Out any games or practices if you have any wounds that seem infected.Use soap and water and do not share any towels. Anything that is red, swollen or warm to the touch, may be a source of infection.
  • Sanitize Linens and Gym ClothesIf you have a cut , sore or open wound, wash toeles and bed linens in the hot water setting on your washing machine. Add bleach if possible.Dry them in the electric dryer Wash all athletic clothes after every use.
  • Get tested. If you have a skin infection, ask your doctor if you should be treated for MRSA

    Getting tested may mean that you will get a quicker healing with the right antiobitic.

  • Use Antibiotics CorrectlyWhen you're prescribed an antibiotic, take all of the doses, even if the infection is getting better. Don't stop until your doctor tells you to stop. Don't share antibiotics with others or save unfinished antibiotics for another time. Inappropriate use of antibiotics, including not taking all of your prescription and overuse, contributes to resistance. If your infection isn't improving after a few days of taking an antibiotic, contact your doctor.
  • Wipe it down Wipe it down-Use a disinfecting bleach solution to wipe down and disinfect hard surfaces.Make sure to use clean cloths to avoid spreading infection from one surface to another.

CDC Rule For Health Care Professionals

Care Givers -No Acrylic Nails

The CDC recently came out with a study that stated germs-specifically MRSA was being passed on care givers with acrylic nails. As the nails lifted from repeated hand washing, germs were being stored between the nail bed and the artificial nail. Wow ! Now most health care facilities have put a ban on acrylic nails. They have also placed rules on the length of nails for the same reason !

Locker Rooms Front Line Of MRSA Defense

There are things that you can do to help those you love prevent Locker Room MRSA !

1.Don't share towels or razors

2. Don't go barefoot ~trade your sneakers for flip flops

3.After a workout-shower immeadiately

4.Wash your practice or work out clothes after each use

Are Your Pets Spreading MRSA ?

With all the concern about MRSA, it is now thought you could get it from your pet

"Pet owners should be aware,but not worried about the possibility of getting MRSA from their pets.We've found MRSA in dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs - even marine mammals," said J. Scott Weese, an associate professor of pathobiology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Horses and cows also are routinely affected.

The question is, do animals and people swap MRSA back and forth creating an unrelenting loop of infection that that could be a risk at both ends.

An ongoing study of some 600 people-pet households across the U.S. showed that staph aureus germs were present in nearly 28 percent of people and about 13 percent of pets. About 10 percent of households had both a human and an animal colonized.


What's not so clear is whether people got MRSA from their pets - or whether they gave it to them, researchers said. One theory is that pets may pick up the bacteria from people, but then serve as reservoirs, harboring the bugs so they can reinfect humans.


It is important that if a MRSA infection does not clear up in a patient that the pets in the home be tested and treated to break the cycle of infection.

Early data indicates that there is a growing problem in the veterinary world. Veterinarians have reported cases of MRSA infection among dogs who have had surgery such as limb amputation. Methicillin-resistant staphylococcal infections have been found among horses, and outbreaks have occurred in equine hospitals.

Like with people, bacteria on pets may have grown resistant to antibiotics as modern veterinary medicine routinely uses modern pharmaceuticals to save animals who would have died a quarter century ago.


Till the research is in, common sense prevails:

1.Always wash your hands after handling your pets.

2.Wash your hands after cleaning any waste matter associated with your pets.

3.Keep things like cages, tanks, dog houses, ect. disinfected, but use pet friendly products.

4.Take your animal to the vet with any sign of infection.

The Experts Speak About MRSA - The Real Facts on MRSA

MRSA experts speak up on the infection

MRSA News - Staph Updates

Even as you read this, doctors are waging war on this bacteria that has potential to live up to it's superbug name. Here is the most recent MRSA news. being informed could save your life.

MRSA Prevention Tip

If you have a cut or sore, wash towels and bed linens in a washing machine set to the hottest water setting (with added bleach, if possible) and dry them in a hot dryer. Wash gym and athletic clothes after each wearing.

More On MRSA - Learn more on MRSA and be informed. It may save your life

The Community Comments - Tell Us Your MRSA Story

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    • profile image

      marsinfection 6 years ago

      thanks for tell us how to protect ourseleves from mars infectionmrsa infection

    • profile image

      infectionmars 6 years ago

      mars infection is very harful for us thanks for suggestions mrsa infection

    • profile image

      zoloftsideeffects 6 years ago

      MRSA is a problem I faced after my Hip replacement surgery. Now I have to wonder about the DePuy Hip Recall which I'd rather deal with the MRSA.

    • OUTFOXprevention1 profile image

      OUTFOXprevention1 5 years ago

      Great lens! Prevention is key and that only comes through awareness.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is an extremely valuable source of information on this topic, and I really appreciate the quality and care that went into the information and all the preventative suggestions. I want to add one suggestion for those unfortunate enough to ever contract staph / MRSA and that is the work of Michelle Moore. She is a leading microbiologist, that has developed a very effective, and even natural treatment protocol She is the author of MRSA Secrets Revealed - a natural treatment guidebook for Staph and MRSA, and anyone in need may want to look further into it (Reference: www.staph-infection-resources.com). Great source of information. Let's hope one day we get a handle on this growing concern, but in the meantime, at least there are solutions beyond antibiotics that others will benefit from. God bless!!

    • linfcor profile image
      Author

      Linda F Correa 4 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      @anonymous: Thanks for your input. The more information that we can get out, the better people will be informed

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 3 years ago

      Such a serious bug to deal with. I have a friend who has been in hospital over a year and we are diligent about using antiseptic gels when we visit him. Great information here.

    • linfcor profile image
      Author

      Linda F Correa 3 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      @reasonablerobby: It is very prevalent all over these days. As I said I got a serious staph, but not MERSA after a surgery and I was meticulous ! You just have to look at all the MERSA in professional sports to see the problem. Some people believe that the overuse of antibiotics have made these worse

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