Every two in 100 people carry MRSA, an infection caused by coming into contact with Staphylococcus bacteria — or staph. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there has been a steady decline in cases (54 percent between 2005 and 2011), but it’s still a big health threat.
A person with MRSA will typically have a skin infection with symptoms of swelling, redness, pain and being warm to the touch. Other signs include chills, nausea and tenderness.
It is resistant to many types of antibiotics.
Staph can be contagious if skin-to-skin contact is made with the infected part of the body or surfaces someone with staph has touched.
People with painful lesions or skin infections should see a medical professional for diagnosis. When staph bacteria penetrate internal organs is when it becomes deadly.
Steps to take:
• Visit a health care provider as soon as a painful skin infection is discovered
• Cover the infected area with a bandage to prevent spreading
• Treatment may require antibiotics, though MRSA/staph is resistant to some
• If prescribed antibiotics, take the entire prescription
• The doctor may make an incision to drain it out
• Do not have skin-to-skin contact with others
• Keep clothes, blankets and whatever contacts skin as clean as possible
• Wash hands often
• Keep wounds covered until they are healed
• Wash bed sheets
• Replace razors
Many people with staph infections get them while being treated in patient-care facilities such as hospitals. Health Care-Associated Infections, or HAIs, are a significant cause of fatalities, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
More than 1 million HAIs occur across the national health care system every year, HHS says. It’s so common, in fact, the HHS has implemented an action plan for reducing HAIs.
Risks come from catheters, surgery, injections, facilities not being properly cleaned, communicable diseases and more.
The HHS also monitors Health Care-Associated Infections at the state level, and many states have their own plans for working to eliminate them.
MRSA is common enough that there are support groups for those suffering because of the infection. The MRSA Survivors Network is online and offers education.