A MRSA staph infection is a type of staph infection that is resistant to antibiotics, making it very serious. MRSA stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. Methicillin-resistant staph is a dangerous disease that can be fatal. It is most common in health care or hospital settings, where MRSA infection control needs to be in place to keep it from sweeping through the population. Individuals with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for contracting MRSA.
How Staph Progresses
Staph infections usually start at the skin, in the form of a blister-like rash. Untreated, staph can progress to the bloodstream and organs. Challenges of treating MRSA include the fact that antibiotics, the usual treatment, are not an option. Broad-spectrum antibiotics won't kill the MRSA bacteria, although some medications can still be effective. An antibiotic, vancomycin, still works against most strains of MRSA; however, some new strains of MRSA are showing resistance to vancomycin as well. Some MRSA infections do not need antibiotics, and can be treated by draining any abscesses and applying warm compresses.
The greatest challenge is preventing the spread of MRSA. The best methods of MRSA infection control are sterilizing instruments and rooms after use, hand-washing by health-care practicioners and isolating people who have contracted MRSA. Patients need to do their part as well, by following prescribed treatment options to the letter, even after any infection has cleared up.
Types of MRSA
A strain of MRSA that has migrated to community settings is known as MRSA-CA, or MRSA-Community Associated. Those who are vulnerable to the Staph in the community include children, whose immune systems are underdeveloped and lack immunity to many germs. Since skin-to-skin contact is an easy method of spreading Staph, contact sports teams are also at risk. Those who associate with health-care workers, such as family members, are also at risk.
The MRSA strain common to the health care setting is known as MRSA-HA, or MRSA-Health-Care Associated. MRSA-HA is most often contracted by postsurgical patients in hospitals or residents of long-term care facilities.
MRSA is highly contagious and can survive for short periods of time on warm, wet surfaces. Beaches, shower curtains, exercise equipment and privacy curtains in hospitals can all host MRSA bacteria. People who have cuts, scratches or other wounds should keep these injuries covered and avoid contact with things touched or used by others to reduce the risk of contracting MRSA.
Learn about staph infection symptoms on different parts of the body and how to treat them.
Staph infection treatment depends on the location of the infection. Minor skin infections may clear up with warm compresses and ibuprofen, while some infections require antibiotics.