MRSA Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (Staph)
CA-MRSA Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
CO-MRSA Community-Onset Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
What is Staphylococcus aureus or Staph?
Staph is a type of bacteria. It may cause skin infections that look like pimples or boils. Skin infections caused by Staph may be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. Some Staph (known as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA) are resistant to certain antibiotics, making it harder to treat.
MRSA occurs most frequently in hospitals and health care facilities, such as nursing homes. Staph skin infections often occur in otherwise healthy people. Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus or CA-MRSA is a form of MRSA that can be contracted by healthy people through normal day-to-day living in the community. It is also known as CO-MRSA, Community-Onset Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aereus.
It is important to understand that skin infections are common. Staphylococcus (Staph) aureus is one of the more typical types of infections. 30% of the population carries Staphylococcus aureus on their skin or nose without ever getting sick. 1% of the population carries MRSA, which is more difficult to treat, but treatment is available.
Who gets Staph infections?
Anyone can get a Staph infection. People are more likely to get a Staph infection if they have:
- Skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a Staph infection. The main mode of transmission is via hands.
- Contact with items and surfaces that have Staph on them.
- Openings on their skin, such a cuts or scrapes.
- Crowded living conditions.
- Poor personal hygiene.
- Been in a hospital or health-care facility.
How serious are Staph infections?
Most Staph infections are minor and may be easily treated. Sometimes, a Staph infection that starts as a skin infection may worsen. Staph may cause more serious infections, such as infections of the bloodstream, surgical sites, or pneumonia. MRSA/CA-MRSA can also lead to more serious health complications. It is important to contact your healthcare provider if your infection does not heal or improve.
How are Staph infections treated?
Treatment for a Staph infection may include taking an antibiotic, and/or having your healthcare provider drain the infection. If you are given an antibiotic, be sure to take all of the doses, even if the infection is getting better, unless your doctor tells you to stop. Do not share antibiotics with other people, or save them for later use. MRSA is a treatable infection when addressed promptly.
How do you keep Staph infections from spreading?
- Practice Good Personal Hygiene
- Wash your hands often or use alcohol-based hand gel sanitizers.
- Keep your cuts, scrapes, and abrasions clean and cover them with bandages.
- Do not touch other people’s cuts or bandages.
- Do not share personal items like water bottles, towels, washcloths, razors, deodorant, uniforms, or clothing.
- Clean environmental surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner or sanitizer. Use the product in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If you have a cut or sore, wash towels and bed linens in hot water with added bleach, and dry them in a hot dryer.
- At the gym or health club wash your hands with soap and water, and shower promptly after working out. Use a barrier (e.g. clothing or towel) between your skin and the shared equipment, and wipe down surfaces of equipment, with a sanitizing wipe if available, before and after use. Wash gym and athletic clothes after each wearing.
- Wash athletic uniforms in hot water after each use. Individuals engaged in contact sports, including football and wrestling should follow the above recommendations. Clothing worn in PE/gym classes should also be washed frequently.
Is it possible that a MRSA/CA-MRSA or Staph infection can come back after it has been cured?
Yes. To prevent this from happening, follow your healthcare provider’s directions while you have the infection, and follow the above steps after the infection is gone.
If you have any questions about your condition please contact your healthcare provider.