Many people might not be familiar with MRSA, but it is important to be educated on this type of infection. MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is an infection which occurs when staph bacteria become antibiotic resistant and it can cause serious complications. [bctt tweet=”Want to know more about MRSA? This quick guide will teach you everything you need to know.” via=”no”]
Types of MRSA
There are two different kinds of MRSA. One is known as health-care-associated MRSA and occurs in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health-care settings after certain procedures such as surgeries, intravenous tubing, or artificial joints. The second way this is contracted is community-associated MRSA that happens to healthy individuals which are spread through skin to skin contact. The healthcare-associated form can cause more serious complications, such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and even blood infections.
Symptoms of MRSA
MRSA occurs when there is a break in the skin and there has been contact with another person who has the infection. We all have staph living on our skin, but it becomes a problem when it gets inside the body. Some symptoms of MRSA include:
- Rash or skin infection
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
- Chest pain
MRSA Risk Factors
Risk factors vary depending on whether you have healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) or community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA). Here are some key risk factors for each scenario:
- Hospitalized within the past three months
- Live in an assisted living community
- Have a weakened immune system due to a medical condition
- Frequently undergo dialysis
- You frequently share exercise equipment
- Participate in a contact sport
- Work in a daycare facility
- Live in unsanitary and crowded conditions
How MRSA is Diagnosed
To diagnose MRSA, samples from the area must be taken and tested. There are four ways and areas to test for MRSA.
Wound cultures can be obtained and sent to the lab for testing.
Sputum cultures are is what we cough up during respiratory issues. It can be analyzed for the presence of bacteria, cell fragments, blood, or puss.
Urine cultures can be tested, as well. In some cases, it needs to be taken directly from the bladder, rather than urinating into a cup.
Blood cultures can be taken and tested to see what type of bacteria is causing the infection.
ProTip: To prevent MRSA, do not take antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. Even when used appropriately, they contribute to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria because they don’t destroy every germ they target.
It is important to take precautions to help prevent MRSA. The following are ways to help reduce the risk of contracting this antibiotic-resistant staph.
- Wash your hands frequently. Carry hand sanitizer for when you do not have access to soap and water.
- Keep your wounds clean and covered at all times.
- Do not share personal items like towels, razors, or athletic equipment.
- Get your household (or anywhere else you frequent) microbial tested. Microbial testing can alert you to any unwanted bacteria lurking around that might cause infections.
- Sanitize your linens if you have any broken cuts or skin and make sure to always wash your athletic wear immediately after use.
Contact us to learn about keeping yourself safe from MRSA.