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Understanding MRSA

MRSA under the microscope

Dr. Muhammad Emran, Medical Director

West Oaks Urgent Care Clinic

Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, or MRSA, is a serious bacterial epidemic that affects millions of people each year. Commonly called a “staph infection,” this bacterium is very aggressive and difficult to treat because it is resistant to common antibiotics.

It is a major problem for healthy people that play contact sports, patients that have any kind of surgery, and children in daycare settings. People may develop small pimples that turn into boils that drain pus, have fever, and cause severe pain. Using over the counter creams will not help MRSA because it is too aggressive.

There are different theories about why MRSA is so common now, but all doctors agree that people use too many antibiotics for the wrong conditions. Each time a bacteria is exposed to an antibiotic, some of the bacteria will mutate and become stronger. The next time the same antibiotic is used, the bacteria are completely resistant to it.

The most common skin infections will be on the groin, armpits, buttocks, face, arms, and legs. Although staph bacteria live on everyone’s skin, MRSA looks for an opportunity to grow under the skin. This usually happens after an insect bite, ingrown hair follicle, simple cuts, or exposure to someone with an active MRSA wound.

MRSA also causes serious bone infections called osteomyelitis, brain infections, and pneumonia. These people usually end up hospitalized for IV injections of antibiotics to calm it down.

Your doctor may order a wound culture test by sending a sample of the pus to the laboratory. It takes about 4 days to get results back. In the meantime, your doctor will determine if oral, IV, or topical antibiotics are necessary.

People can help prevent MRSA by avoiding all antibiotics for colds, coughs, and viral infections. Don’t pressure your doctor to prescribe antibiotics. Use gloves or other protection when taking care of people with open wounds. If your doctor does feel an antibiotic is important, be sure to take every dose of it.

Review additional information below and talk with your doctor about any questions you may have. West Oaks Urgent Care treats many different types of staph infections 7 days a week.

Source: 

http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa

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