If you’ve been inside of a hospital in the last ten years, then there’s a good chance you’ve heard about MRSA. However, although public awareness about this problem has been growing, you might still be wondering “what is MRSA Infection”. In this article, we hope to give you an insight into everything you need to know about this bacterial infection.
MRSA stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This is an infection that’s caused by a form of bacteria known as staph, or Staphylococcus. It’s particularly worrisome for those in the healthcare industry because it’s naturally resistant to several antibiotics, particularly methicillin. These bacterial generally live in the skin, and in the nose, and generally don’t cause a great degree of harm to us in our daily lives. However, as staph start to multiply uncontrollably, then an MRSA infection can happen, causing serious illness.
Perhaps the easiest answer to “what is MRSA Infection” is that it’s a very contagious infection that can be spread through contact with an infected individual. It can also be contracted by coming into contact with a surface or object that an infected person might have touched previously. While an MRSA infection can be a very serious thing, it can be treated with antibiotics in many cases.
The Different Types of MRSA:
Importantly, there’s more than one type of MRSA infection in the world today. There are two distinct types. The first one is “HA-MRSA” which is hospital-acquired MRSA, while the second one is CA-MRSA, which is when the infection begins within the community.
HA-MRSA is an infection often contracted in medical facilities like nursing homes and hospitals. In most circumstances, you might get this infection through contact with an infected wound or a contaminated individual. There’s also a chance that you could acquire the infection through contact with poorly sanitized surgical instruments and contact with contaminated linens. Hospital acquired MRSA can cause severe issues, including pneumonia and blood infections. It should never be taken lightly, which is why many organizations are now more focused on keeping facilities clean.
CA-MRSA is the form of MRSA infection that takes place in the community environment. CA-MRSA is associated with infections transmitted through close contact with infected individuals, or direct contact with a wound. This form of MRSA infection can develop because of bad hygiene, such as poor handwashing and infrequent cleaning.
What is MRSA Infection: The Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms that you suffer from when it comes to MRSA will depend on the type of infection you have. Importantly, it’s crucial for patients to be aware of any sign of infection that may occur after they’ve been in a hospital setting, as MRSA can be very dangerous, and lead to life-threatening complications.
HA-MRSA is the form of MRSA that’s most likely to cause more serious problems, including urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and sepsis. It’s crucial to see your doctor as soon as possible if you notice symptoms like headaches, rashes, muscle pains, fever, or persistent chills. Some people find that the symptoms of MRSA culminate around their chest, which can lead to coughs, shortness of breath, general pain and fatigue.
On the other hand, the symptoms associated with CA-MRSA can be much less aggressive than their hospital-acquired counterparts. CA-MRSA typically causes issues with skin infections, and areas that are more generally associated with body hair, such as the spaces at the back of the neck, armpits, and head are generally the most likely to become infected. Areas that end up getting scratched, cut, or repeatedly rubbed might also be vulnerable, because your skin is your biggest barrier against germs, and it may have been damaged.
Infection in the world of CA-MRSA can cause swollen and painful lumps to appear on the skin, and these lumps might resemble something like a pimple, or a bite from insect. Most of the time, the infection will include a white or yellow-ish center and may be surrounded by a space of warmth and redness. Some people with CA-MRSA will also experience fever.
Treating MRSA: How to Overcome the Infection
If you’re wondering “what is MRSA Infection?” then your most crucial question may be how you can treat the infection. CA-MRSA Infections and HA-MRSA infections are often treated differently. For instance, HA-MRSA infections often require the most immediate treatment because the side-effects of can be life-threatening and severe. Usually, these infections will require some manner of antibiotics, often delivered through an IV, and sometimes for long periods depending on the severity of the infection.
CA-MRSA infections will often improve on their own with nothing more than oral antibiotics. However, if your skin infection is large enough, then your doctor might choose to perform a drainage and incision procedure where they get rid of the majority of the problem. Usually, this procedure can be performed in office settings under local anesthesia, and it may include using a scalpel to cut away the area of infection.
Preventing the Infection:
Ultimately, the best way to protect yourself if you’re concerned about a potential MRSA infection, is to ensure that you take preventative measures. Washing your hands on a regular basis can bring your infection risk down to a minimum. Make sure that you scrub your hands for at least fifteen seconds before drying them.
Additionally, people in hospital and public settings should also keep their wounds covered always. Covering wounds can be key to preventing other fluids and pus from contaminating the surfaces that people may touch. Remember, you shouldn’t share any personal items like towels, or sheets that might have touched your wound either.
Ultimately, it’s up to the facility that’s caring for you to do their part too. You’ll need to ensure that the hospital in question sanitizes your linens, and if you have any broken skin or cuts, you should wash your towels and linens in hot water too. Make sure that you wash athletic clothing and gym clothes after each use, and dry everything at a high heat.
In many circumstances, a person with HA-MRSA may be placed in isolation until the infection improves. Isolation prevents the spread of MRSA infections, and hospital personnel should follow strict washing procedures to keep the risk of spreading to a minimum.