Methicillin-Resistant Staph Infection

A methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by a bacteria that resists many antibiotics that are used to treat infections . The bacteria can affect the skin, blood, bones, or lungs. A person can either be infected or colonized with MRSA. When a person is infected, the bacteria cause symptoms. A person colonized also has the bacteria, but it may not cause any symptoms. An MRSA infection can be serious because of the resistance to antibiotics. There are two types of MRSA infection: community-acquired and nosocomial. People who have a community-acquired MRSA infection were infected outside of a hospital setting. Nosocomial MRSA infections occur in healthcare settings such as hospitals or clinics.

  • Causes

    An MRSA infection is caused by a bacteria. The cause of the resistance to the bacteria is from excessive exposure to antibiotics over time. The bacteria adapts to the antibiotics.

  • Definition

    A methicillin-resistant
    staphylococcus aureus
    (MRSA) infection is caused by a bacteria that resists many antibiotics that are used to treat infections
    . The bacteria can affect the skin, blood, bones, or lungs. A person can either be
    infected
    or
    colonized
    with MRSA. When a person is infected, the bacteria cause symptoms. A person colonized also has the bacteria, but it may not cause any symptoms. An MRSA infection can be serious because of the resistance to antibiotics.

    There are two types of MRSA infection:
    community-acquired
    and
    nosocomial. People who have a community-acquired MRSA infection were infected outside of a hospital setting. Nosocomial MRSA infections occur in healthcare settings such as hospitals or clinics.

  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:

    • Blood tests
    • Urine tests

    • Skin
      biopsy
    • Wound cultures

  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of getting an MRSA infection, take the following steps:


    • Thoroughly
      wash your hands
      with soap and water.
    • Keep cuts and wounds clean and covered until healed.
    • Avoid contact with other people’s wounds and materials contaminated by wounds.
    • If you are hospitalized, visitors and healthcare workers may be required to wear special clothing and gloves. This will help prevent spreading the infection to others.
    • Clean surfaces to eliminate bacteria.
    • If advised by your doctor, use nasal ointments, wash with special soap, and take medications to prevent the bacteria from infecting you again.

  • Risk Factors

    An MRSA infection can spread several ways:

    • Contaminated surfaces
    • Person-to-person
    • From one area of the body to another

    The following factors increase your chance of infection. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:


    • Community-acquired:

      • Impaired immunity
      • Sharing crowded spaces such as dormitories or locker rooms
      • Using IV drugs
      • Having a serious illness
      • Age: Child
      • Being an athlete, especially in sports using direct contact such as wrestling and football
      • Being a prisoner
      • Being a member of the military
      • Exposure to animals such as being a pet owner, veterinarian, or pig farmer
      • Using antibiotics
      • Having a chronic skin disorder
      • Having a wound
      • Being infected with MRSA in the past

    • Nosocomial—healthcare-associated:

      • Exposure to hospital or clinical settings
      • Living in a long-term care center
      • Impaired immunity
      • Advanced age
      • Sex: male
      • Using antibiotics
      • Having a wound

  • Symptoms

    If you experience any of these symptoms, do not assume it is an MRSA infection. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your doctor.

    • A rash that may have discharge
    • An area of the skin that is swollen and red
    • Blisters on the skin
    Infected Hair Follicle—Folliculitis
    Inflammed hair follicle
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  • Treatment


    Talk with your doctor about the best
    treatment plan
    for you. Treatment options include the following: