Monday, April 27, 2009

What is MRSA?

This was a question until about a month ago I could not have answered. Then Brookster came home with a note that a child in the community had been diagnosed with MRSA.

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a type of Staph bacteria found on the skin and in the nose that is resistant to antibiotics. More than 90,000 Americans get potentially deadly MRSA infections every year and in 2005, nearly 19,000 Americans died from MRSA infections. More deaths are linked to MRSA infections than AIDS.

There are two known types of MRSA. You may have heard of Healthcare-Associated (HA-MRSA), which occurs in hospitals and nursing homes, but a newer type of MRSA is Community-Associated (CA-MRSA), which has recently begun to spread in public settings like gyms, locker rooms, households and schools.

People can carry MRSA and not have any symptoms. These "carriers" can also transmit the bacteria to other people. MRSA can be easily spread through skin-to-skin contact and by touching contaminated items. This is why it is crucial to take measures to help reduce the spread of MRSA using these practical steps.

  1. Scrub up - Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub sanitizer.

  2. Wipe it down - Use a disinfecting bleach solution to wipe down and disinfect hard surfaces. (1 tablespoon of disinfecting bleach diluted in 1 quart of water)

  3. Cover your cuts - Keep any nicks or wounds covered with a clean, dry bandage until healed.

  4. Keep to yourself - Do not share personal items, like towels or razors, that come into contact with bare skin.

  5. Use a barrier - Keep a towel or clothing between skin and shared equipment.

MRSA, like other staph bacteria, can cause a skin infection such as pimples, rashes, abscesses, boils or what can look like a spider bite. These infections are usually warm, painful, red or swollen.If you think that you or anyone in your family may have a MRSA infection, contact a licensed health care professional, especially if the infection is large, painful, warm to the touch, or does not heal by itself.For more information on MRSA and steps you can take to help reduce the spread of the bacteria, download our STOP MRSA Now Playbook here.

We live in a small town so when something happens to one the kids it like it happens to us. The little girl Kristin passed away a few weeks ago from MRSA. Her story is going to be on the Oprah show tomorrow. I chose to blog about this so everyone would be aware of the dangers of this infection and the symptoms. Please help me spread the word about this terrible infection. Thanks for helping me spread the word. If you have a chance watch the Oprah Show tomorrow to learn about this infection and some other infections as well.

Hug your kids a little extra tonight. I know I do because you never know what could happen.


  1. I am so glad to find somthing that is informative. I found out that my daughter has HA. And find myself scared to death. She had my sweet grand daughter in January. And that is when she got it. Been sick about three times with it. But now she has it in her breast. We live in NM and I am so scard for her. Thank you for your Blog.

  2. Shelly ( 28, 2009 at 10:25 AM

    Golfersmom: I am so sorry for your community! This is happening too many times to our children. As a mom and a communications professional in the medical field, I have worked with a company that makes a wash that kills MRSA (used to only be able to get it in hospitals). It is called Hibiclens and we use it at our house all the time. I also wanted to share a few other points that I have learned:

    - MRSA can survive on objects for longer than you would imagine - 7 months on dust, 203 days on a blanket, 9 weeks on cotton, 56 days on a mop head, indefinitely on skin.
    - A food source for staph and MRSA is dead skin. Dust is 80% dead skin so bacteria love dust
    - As long as MRSA has a nutrient source it can survive.
    - MRSA can live on the skin with no symptoms until their is a break in the skin and it has a portal of entry past the bodies natural defenses - this is when the infection occurs.
    - MRSA can live in the nose indefinitely

    So cleaning your skin is the no. 1 best prevention method.

    Stay safe!

  3. Thank you for posting this and I'm sorry for the pain in your community.

    Stay well

  4. Thank you all. Shelly I did not know there was a wash that could be used. Thanks for the information.

  5. Very informative. I'm so sorry your community has been affected. Nice blog! Thanks for the follow. I am following you to.