Big Trouble from a Tiny Culprit: MRSA

What started off as a small pimple has bloomed into a major skin infection. How did it happen? The culprit could be methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. “This type of staph infection is resistant to the antibiotics most commonly used to treat skin infections,” says Edemekong Bassey, M.D., board certified physician with CMH Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine Clinic in Bolivar. “While most cases of MRSA aren’t serious, some can potentially be life-threatening.

What started off as a small pimple has bloomed into a major skin infection. How did it happen? The culprit could be methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. “This type of staph infection is resistant to the antibiotics most commonly used to treat skin infections,” says Edemekong Bassey, M.D., board certified physician with CMH Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine Clinic in Bolivar. “While most cases of MRSA aren’t serious, some can potentially be life-threatening.

“What’s concerning is how these infections show up,” says Dr. Bassey. Historically, MRSA infections were most commonly seen in health care settings, such as in patients who had been hospitalized. However, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows the growth of MRSA cases in people who have no connection to health care settings. Called community-acquired MRSA, the infection is often passed through direct skin-to-skin contact. "Community-acquired MRSA is common among high school athletes,” says Dr. Bassey.”They pick up the infection by close contact with each other. It may start out looking like a pimple or spider bite, but can become swollen, red, painful, and have discharge.”

It appears now that everyone is at risk, researchers explain. If you think you have a spider bite or other skin lesion that is not healing, see your doctor to make sure it’s not an infection like MRSA.

The Best Defense? Good Hygiene

In the study, 59 percent of the skin infections studied turned out to be MRSA. Most cases are mild and heal after the infection is cleaned and treated. Some, however, can require a stay in the hospital, and in rare cases, they may be deadly. Fortunately, new antibiotics that are more effective against MRSA are already testing well. Curb the infection’s spread by practicing prevention:

  • Cover up. An open wound that is draining or has pus is a haven for staph or MRSA. Keep wounds bandaged to avoid spreading the infection to others.
  • Scrub up. Hand-washing is key to fighting infection. Wash with warm water and soap (or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) several times a day—especially before and after bandaging or handling a wound.
  • Hands off. Let others tend to their own cuts and scrapes. If a laceration seems serious, visit the hospital to have a professional physician treat it.
  • Don’t share. Never let your friends borrow your personal towel or razor. If they balk, just chalk it up to good hygiene.

Think You Might Have MRSA?

Thank goodness there is a physician locally who specializes in infectious diseases, including MRSA.  Call 888-328-6010 or 417-328-6010 and ask for Dr. Bassey and the CMH Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine Clinic for a free referral. His office is located at 1300 N. Oakland, Bolivar.

Category: Conditions
Tags: MRSA, missouri, bolivar, staph infection

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Infocenter 417-328-6010 or 1-888-328-6010
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1500 N. Oakland, Bolivar, Missouri 65613