Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is a bacteria that spread to different parts of your body. It is harder to treat compared to a normal Staphylococcus aureus since it is resistant to some antibiotics. This is why an MRSA infection should not be treated lightly.
The effect of this bacteria varies depending on the cause. It can be not serious for some, while it can be life-threatening for others. There are some cases when even public health experts find it hard to treat this condition, which is how the bacteria got its nickname, superbug.
Different Types of MRSA
There are two different types of MRSA, health-care associated (HA-MRSA) and community-associated (CA-MRSA). Learn more about these two below.
1. Health-care associated MRSA (HA-MRSA)
In this type of MRSA, you will get the staph infection from healthcare settings or hospitals. Usually, this is associated with invasive procedures including surgeries. The bacteria is passed down to the infected wound through unwashed hands or poorly sanitized materials. When this happens, you have a tendency to have pneumonia or blood infections.
n addition, you are at risk at HA-MRSA if you are living in a nursing home, just got hospitalized for the past three months, have a weak immune system, or just underwent hemodialysis.
2. Community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA)
CA-MRSA, on the other hand, is an infection that you can get from the community, especially from healthy people. It starts as a skin boil and is passed via skin-to-skin contact. The most common victims of this condition are childcare workers, high school wrestlers, or those who live and work in crowded areas.
The bacteria will come from a person’s hygiene. If he or she does not practice good hygiene, then there is a possibility for him or her to have the bacteria. And since the host is living in a crowded area, he or she might pass the bacteria and thus the result of CA-MRSA.
Aside from the abovementioned conditions, you have a high risk of having CA-MRSA if you frequently participate in contact sports, work in a daycare facility, or share your things with other people.
There are various symptoms for you to know that you are already infected with MRSA bacteria. Most of the time, the symptoms of this condition depends on how you got the bacteria. You will know if you have HA-RMSA if you have the following signs:
- Chest pain
- Muscle ache
- Shortness of breath
If these signs are ignored, you might end up having severe illnesses such as urinary tract infections or pneumonia.
Meanwhile, if you have CA-MRSA, you will have skin infections. Since you got the bacteria from a physical contact, the first signs usually appear in your skin. The infected areas are the back of the neck, armpits, or any part of your body that has hair. Body parts that have been rubbed, cut, or scratched are prone to be infected as well.
When you are infected, the aforementioned areas will tend to have a swollen and painful bump. Do not mistake it for a pimple or insect bite as the bump caused by MRSA have a white or yellow center. This area might feel warm as well. In worse cases, you might end up having a fever.
As mentioned, you can get MRSA through health care centers or through someone you know. But in addition to these, you should know as well that staph is a common bacteria in our body, usually found in your nose. In fact, there are healthy people who carriers of this bacteria.
The bacteria is not actually dangerous if it stays there. The problem would be when it moves to other parts of your body, especially in areas where you have a cut. When that happens, you are at risk of having MRSA.
The treatment for MRSA will depend on its type. CA-MRSA patients are recommended to take oral antibiotics. But if the skin is severely damaged, the doctor might suggest undergoing drainage and incision. During the procedure, the patient will be injected with a local anesthesia. Then, the doctor will open the wound and drain the infected area.
On the contrary, HA-MRSA is more life-threatening compared with its counterpart. That is why if the test result conducted by the doctor has proven that you have this kind of ailment, you will have to get IV antibiotics. You need to take this medication until the condition gets better.
There are different ways that you can do to prevent an MRSA infection. You can do any of the following:
- Do not share your personal items such as athletic equipment, sheets, towels, and razors with other people. This is to prevent you from getting the bacteria from another person. Also, if you are the host of the bacteria, you should not use personal items of your friends and co-workers to prevent spreading the virus.
- Always sanitize your linens. You should always do this especially when you have broken skin. Be sure to wash your bed linens with hot water and dry these properly. If you are an athlete, make sure that you immediately wash your clothes after practice or game.
- Make it a point that you cover your wounds. Cuts and open wounds are prone to bacteria which is why it best that you cover these areas to protect from viruses.
- Remember to wash your hands at all times. MRSA is usually passed through touch or any contact, especially through your hands. This is why you should always remember to wash your hands regularly. You can clean your hands with soap for 15 seconds and let it dry using a towel. It is also recommended that you bring an alcohol with you so you can still keep your hands clean 24/7.
Although preventing HA-MRSA will be difficult, you must then be sure that the hospital that you are attending to strictly follows protocols when it comes to hygiene. The doctors and nurses should use gloves and protective garments.