How Can I Tell If I Have MRSA?

MRSA stands for methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus. It is an infection that is caused by a strain of staph aureus, that has become resistant to methicillin and many other common antibiotics.

How Can I Tell If I Have MRSA?

You can tell if you have MRSA by observing a few signs and symptoms that are typical and common for most staphylococcus infections. And MRSA is no exception.

Most of the staphylococcus infections usually start with small red bumps that are painful and swollen. These red bumps usually look like pimples or spider bites. The area that is affected by staphylococcus infection might feel warm to touch. The area might be filled with pus or other fluid. There may also be a fever. These affected regions or the red bumps can rapidly become painful abscesses, that may run deep into the body. Such abscesses may require a surgical drainage. The bacteria may remain arrested to the skin. But sometimes, they may invade deep into the body and may cause some other serious infections in heart and lungs, joints, bones and in the bloodstream.

One must keep a watch on skin problems, especially in small children, as children are more prone to contact with each other. If you feel that the wound is not healing or is infected or there is a collection of pus or other fluid in the wound or if you get a fever, it is essential to consult with your doctor for further evaluation.

Causes Of MRSA

The staphylococcus bacteria are commonly caused staph bacteria. Staph bacteria exist normally on the skin or nose of many healthy people. These bacteria generally do not cause any harm, unless they find their way into the body through cuts, scrapes or other wounds. In most people, they do not cause any serious health problems. Some people are carriers of MRSA, meaning that they carry the bacteria on their body, but they do not present with any signs or symptoms.

Another important cause of MRSA is an unnecessary use of antibiotics for years and years. Doctors used to treat diseases like flu, colds and other viral infections with antibiotics, which are not even useful in treating these infections. Even if the antibiotics are used wisely and appropriately, they cannot kill each bacterium. Thus, bacteria become drug resistant. Bacteria are evolving rapidly and continuously. Hence, those that do not get killed with antibiotics very soon understand and learn to fight other antibiotics as well. This is what has happened in case of MRSA. This species of staphylococcus aureus has not only become resistant to methicillin antibiotics, but also to many other common antibiotics.

Risk Factors For MRSA

HA-MRSA Risk Factors-

Being in a hospital or other healthcare facilities like nursing homes is a great risk factor for HA-MRSA. The patients in these set ups are the most susceptible to attacks from different pathogens. The elderly and the kids are at even greater risk

Using invasive medical devices like tubing, catheters etc. can provide an easy access for the bacteria to enter the blood stream and other parts of the body

Staying in a day care facility or other such places can also be a great risk factor. People may be carriers, but they may not present with any symptoms. They still pose a great threat to others who are healthy

CA-MRSA Risk Factors-

  • Playing contact sports can be a great risk as MRSA can spread easily through cuts and wounds and also through skin to skin contact
  • Crowded localities or unsanitary living conditions can lead to the spread of MRSA. Hence, places like jails, child-care centers etc. can be susceptible
  • Using drugs through an intravenous route can lead to invasive MRSA infections
  • MRSA infections usually begin with some characteristic signs and symptoms. You can tell if you have MRSA by observing these signs and symptoms.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/community/index.html

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