How Long Does It Take For MRSA To Show Up After Exposure?

MRSA belongs to the species of staphylococcal organisms. It stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

Earlier when a person was found to be infected with staphylococcus aureus, antibiotics like penicillins (amoxicillin, ampicillin, methicillin, etc.) and cephalosporins (cefixime, ceftriaxone, etc.) were used to treat the infection, but due to needless and over usage of these antibiotics this organism has gained resistance towards those antibiotics.

Due to its resistance to these basic antibiotics it has become tough to treat MRSA. But there are other antibiotics available that can be used to treat the infection.

How Long Does It Take For MRSA To Show Up After Exposure?

How Long Does It Take For MRSA To Show Up After Exposure?

MRSA usually shows no symptoms when it colonizes the skin or nasal cavity. There is no definite time period in which MRSA shows up after exposure. On entry into the body via blood or through breach in the continuity of the skin, symptoms may appear after an incubation period of around one to ten days.(1)

MRSA normally resides on the surface of our skin and sometimes even in our nasal cavity. There is no evidence of infection in such cases and are said to be just colonized by the bacteria. The bacteria cause no infection unless it enters the skin through breach in the skin like cuts and wounds.

The bacteria are transmitted from one infected person to another through the cuts and wounds on the skin of healthy person. In case of hospitalized patients, the bacteria are spread through the aerosols that the patient breathes out. Sharing personal items like towels, clothes, etc. of the infected person can also lead to spread of infection. Because of this reason the athletes are made to use their own clothing everywhere.

When the bacteria enter body through broken skin or through damaged mucous membranes, it may take from one day to ten days for the symptoms to show up.

When MRSA infects skin it gives rise to symptoms like- swollen and reddish bumps that may be painful most of the times. These bumps may also contain collection of pus. There might be occurrence of fever in some cases. When the bacteria reach the lungs, it leads to pneumonia causing symptoms like breathlessness, cough, fever, increased rate of respiration, etc.

To confirm the diagnosis, culture and sensitivity test is done. The pus from the skin lesions is collected and sent to the lab for culture. In case of pneumonia, nasal swab is collected and cultured. Sensitivity test is also done to check what all antibiotics the bacteria are sensitive to, so the treatment can be given correspondingly. Vancomycin is the most frequently used drug to treat the systemic MRSA infection. Superficial skin infections need to be taken proper care of by regular dressing.(1)

Important things to be done when you or your family member has MRSA infection-

Contact The Doctor Immediately- When you suspect that you have MRSA infection, no time must be wasted and you must promptly contact your doctor.

Taking Antibiotics Regularly- When you have systemic infection due to MRSA, the antibiotics must be taken on time and without missing a dose.

Covering The Wound- In order to prevent transmission to other healthy persons, the wounds on the body must be concealed by applying proper dressing. Suitable cleaning of the wound must be done regularly under all aseptic precautions.

Avoid Use Of Personal Items- All the personal items of the infected person must be kept separately and washed separately or else the infection may get transferred to healthy persons.

Proper Disinfection Of The Surfaces- The patient may come in contact with the surfaces of furniture; these must be properly disinfected with the help of strong chemicals that are capable of killing MRSA (e.g. Hydrogen peroxide)

Proper Hand Washing- The relatives and health care workers must be advised to wash hands properly and thoroughly before and after each contact with the infected person.

Isolation- In case of MRSA pneumonia, the patient must be strictly isolated because the bacteria are present in the aerosols breathed out by the patient that can easily infect anyone.

Use Of Gowns And Masks- When interacting with the infected person, the relatives and the healthcare workers must wear gowns and masks to prevent further infection to the patient and to prevent infection to healthy persons.

References:

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