Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a type of bacterium that is resistant to many antibiotics. Familiarize yourself with these 5 common MRSA symptoms and seek treatment immediately if you think you may have this super staph infection.
1. Red, Swollen Skin
The most common symptom of MRSA is red, swollen skin that may look like a boil or surgical wound. The area of infection is usually painful and filled with pus. Many people mistake a MRSA infection for a spider bite or insect bite. If you have what appears to be a bug bite that just will not go away, do not take any chances; see your doctor right away.
2. Shortness of Breath
MRSA may also infect the lungs, which can lead to shortness of breath.
A MRSA infection of the lungs often causes coughing.
If you have a red, swollen skin wound and a fever, you should visit a doctor. While most MRSA infections are successfully treated, they can be lethal if you do not seek medical help immediately.
Chills often accompanies the fever bought on by MRSA. In 2007, WebMD reported that more people in the US die than MRSA than from AIDS. MRSA killed over 18,000 Americans in 2005. In the same year, approximately 16,000 people died from AIDS.
Note that MRSA is not a typical staph infection. Regular staph infections are quite common. In fact, up to a quarter of the population carry staph bacteria in their nose or on their skin without any signs of infection. And when infection occurs, most cases of staph are easily treated. MRSA, on the other hand, requires more complicated treatment because it has become resistant to several antibiotics over the years. This super bug is resistant to penicillin, methicillin, amoxicillin, and many other antibiotics.
MRSA infections are most common among people with weak immune systems and those who have spent time in hospitals, nursing homes, and other extended-stay health facilities. If you've recently had surgery and your wound is not healing properly, it could have been infected.
You can contract MRSA through skin-to-skin contact or by touching a contaminated surface. The best way to prevent MRSA is to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, especially after spending time in a hospital or another healthcare setting. Be sure to use hot water and soap or a hand sanitizer. Scrub your hands like a surgeon to get rid of all germs.
MRSA infects pre-existing wounds more easily. When you get a burn, cut, or scrape, clean the wound immediately, apply antibiotic ointment, and cover it with a bandage.
Locker rooms and gyms provide fertile breeding grounds for MRSA and other germs. If you go to a gym, take your own towel to wipe down the equipment before and after use. Wear sandals or crocs in the shower, and never share personal items like towels or razors.
When you get home, wash your workout clothes in hot water. Cleanliness is the best way to prevent MRSA. Remember the symptoms of MRSA, and see your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect an infection.
Do you know of any other common MRSA symptoms?