MRSA (Staph) Infection: Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention (2023)

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What is MRSA?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an infection caused by Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria. This type of bacteria is resistant to many different antibiotics.

These bacteria naturally live in the nose and on the skin and generally don’t cause any harm. However, when they begin to multiply uncontrollably, a MRSA infection can occur.

MRSA infections typically occur when there’s a cut or break in your skin. MRSA is very contagious and can be spread through direct contact with a person who has the infection.

It can also be contracted by coming into contact with an object or surface that’s been touched by a person with MRSA.

Though a MRSA infection can be serious, it may be treated effectively with certain antibiotics.

What are the different types of MRSA?

(Video) Staph Infections of the Skin – Staph Infection Symptoms | Staphylococcus Aureus and Treatment

MRSA infections are classified as either hospital-acquired (HA-MRSA) or community-acquired (CA-MRSA).

HA-MRSA

HA-MRSA is associated with infections that are contracted in medical facilities, such as hospitals or nursing homes. You can get this type of MRSA infection through direct contact with an infected wound or contaminated hands.

You can also get the infection through contact with contaminated linens or poorly sanitized surgical instruments. HA-MRSA can cause severe problems, such as blood infections and pneumonia.

CA-MRSA

CA-MRSA is associated with infections transmitted through close personal contact with a person who has the infection or through direct contact with an infected wound.

This type of MRSA infection may also develop because of poor hygiene, such as infrequent or improper handwashing.

MRSA symptoms can vary depending on the type of infection.

Symptoms of HA-MRSA

HA-MRSA is generally more likely to cause serious complications, such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and the blood infection sepsis. It’s important to see your doctor right away if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • rash
  • headaches
  • muscle aches
  • chills
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain

Symptoms of CA-MRSA

CA-MRSA usually causes skin infections. Areas that have increased body hair, such as the armpits or back of the neck, are more likely to be infected.

Areas that have been cut, scratched, or rubbed are also vulnerable to infection because your biggest barrier to germs — your skin — has been damaged.

(Video) MRSA Methicillin Resistant Saphylococcus Aureus - Everything You Need To Know - Dr. Nabil Ebraheim

The infection usually causes a swollen, painful bump to form on the skin. The bump may resemble a spider bite or pimple. It often has a yellow or white center and a central head.

Sometimes an infected area is surrounded by an area of redness and warmth, known as cellulitis. Pus and other fluids may drain from the affected area. Some people also experience a fever.

Risk factors vary depending on the type of MRSA infection.

Risk factors for HA-MRSA

You’re at an increased risk for HA-MRSA if you:

  • were hospitalized within the past three months
  • regularly undergo hemodialysis
  • have a weakened immune system due to another medical condition
  • live in a nursing home

Risk factors for CA-MRSA

You’re at an increased risk for CA-MRSA if you:

  • share exercise equipment, towels, or razors with other people
  • participate in contact sports
  • work at a day care facility
  • live in crowded or unsanitary conditions

Diagnosis begins with a medical history assessment and physical examination. Samples will also be taken from the site of infection. The types of samples obtained to help diagnose MRSA include the following:

Wound cultures

Wound samples are obtained with a sterile cotton swab and placed in a container. They’re then taken to a laboratory to be analyzed for the presence of staph bacteria.

(Video) How Can a Staph or a MRSA Infection be Treated?

Sputum cultures

Sputum is the substance that comes up from the respiratory tract during coughing. A sputum culture analyzes the sputum for the presence of bacteria, cell fragments, blood, or pus.

People who can cough can usually provide a sputum sample easily. Those who are unable to cough or who are on ventilators may need to undergo a respiratory lavage or bronchoscopy to obtain a sputum sample.

Respiratory lavage and bronchoscopy involve the use of a bronchoscope, which is a thin tube with a camera attached. Under controlled conditions, the doctor inserts the bronchoscope through the mouth and into your lungs.

The bronchoscope allows the doctor to see the lungs clearly and to collect a sputum sample for testing.

Urine cultures

In most cases, a sample for a urine culture is obtained from a “midstream clean catch” urine specimen. To do this, urine is collected in a sterile cup during urination. The cup is then given to the doctor, who sends it to a lab for analysis.

Sometimes, urine must be collected directly from the bladder. To do this, the healthcare provider inserts a sterile tube called a catheter into the bladder. Urine then drains from the bladder into a sterile container.

Blood cultures

A blood culture requires taking a blood draw and placing the blood on a dish in a laboratory. If bacteria grow on the dish, doctors can more easily identify what bacteria type is causing infection.

Results from blood cultures typically take about 48 hours. A positive test result can indicate the blood infection sepsis. Bacteria can enter the blood from infections located in other parts of your body, such as the lungs, bones, and urinary tract.

Doctors typically treat HA-MRSA and CA-MRSA differently.

Treatment for HA-MRSA

HA-MRSA infections have the capability of producing severe and life-threatening infections. These infections usually require antibiotics through an IV, sometimes for long periods of time depending on the severity of your infection.

(Video) Cure MRSA Staph Infection Fast Natural Treatment

Treatment for CA-MRSA

CA-MRSA infections will usually improve with oral antibiotics alone. If you have a large enough skin infection, your doctor may decide to perform an incision and drainage.

Incision and drainage are typically performed in an office setting under local anesthesia. Your doctor will use a scalpel to cut open the area of infection and drain it completely. You may not need antibiotics if this is performed.

Take the following measures to reduce your risk of getting and spreading CA-MRSA:

  • Wash your hands on a regular basis. This is the first line of defense against spreading MRSA. Scrub your hands for at least 15 seconds before drying them with a towel. Use another towel to turn off the faucet. Carry hand sanitizer that contains 60 percent alcohol. Use it to keep your hands clean when you don’t have access to soap and water.
  • Keep your wounds covered at all times. Covering wounds can prevent pus or other fluids containing staph bacteria from contaminating surfaces that other people may touch.
  • Don’t share personal items. This includes towels, sheets, razors, and athletic equipment.
  • Sanitize your linens. If you have cuts or broken skin, wash bed linens and towels in hot water with extra bleach and dry everything at high heat in the dryer. You should also wash your gym and athletic clothes after each use.

People with HA-MRSA are typically placed in temporary isolation until the infection improves. Isolation prevents the spread of this type of MRSA infection. Hospital personnel caring for people with MRSA should follow strict handwashing procedures.

To further reduce their risk for MRSA, hospital staff and visitors should wear protective garments and gloves to prevent contact with contaminated surfaces. Linens and contaminated surfaces should always be properly disinfected.

While many people have some MRSA bacteria living on their skin, excess exposure can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening infections.

Symptoms and treatments can vary based on the type of MRSA infection a person has. Practicing excellent infection prevention techniques, such as washing hands regularly, refraining from sharing personal items, and keeping wounds covered, clean, and dry can help prevent its spread.

(Video) 3. Staph Diagnosis and Treatment

FAQs

What are 3 symptoms of MRSA? ›

The symptoms of a MRSA infection depend on the part of the body that is infected.
...
aureus skin infections, including MRSA, appear as a bump or infected area on the skin that might be:
  • red.
  • swollen.
  • painful.
  • warm to the touch.
  • full of pus or other drainage.
  • accompanied by a fever.

What is the most common way for MRSA to enter the body? ›

This form, community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA), often begins as a painful skin boil. It's usually spread by skin-to-skin contact. At-risk populations include groups such as high school wrestlers, child care workers and people who live in crowded conditions.

What kills staph and MRSA? ›

To kill MRSA on surfaces, use a disinfectant such as Lysol or a solution of bleach. Use enough solution to completely wet the surface and allow it to air dry. This will sufficiently reduce the amount of germs.

What is the fastest way to cure MRSA? ›

At home — Treatment of MRSA at home usually includes a 7- to 10-day course of an antibiotic (by mouth) such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (brand name: Bactrim), clindamycin, minocycline, linezolid, or doxycycline.

How long is a person contagious with MRSA? ›

Typically 4–10 days Contagious Period As long as the bacteria are present in nose, throat and mouth secretions. Do not squeeze or “pop” boils or pimples. Cover with a clean, dry bandage and refer to a health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.

Can I spread MRSA to my family? ›

MRSA is contagious and can be spread to other people through skin-to- skin contact. If one person in a family is infected with MRSA, the rest of the family may get it. MRSA was first identified in the 1960's and was mainly found in hospitals and nursing homes.

How do you know if MRSA is in your bloodstream? ›

How do I know if I have MRSA? Your doctor may take a sample from your infected skin, nose, blood, urine or saliva and send it to the lab. This test sample is called a “culture”. If the lab finds MRSA in the test sample, the test is positive; this means that you have MRSA in or on your body.

How do you get MRSA out of your house? ›

Cleaners or detergents are products that remove soil, dirt, dust, organic matter, and germs (like bacteria, viruses, and fungi). They lift dirt and germs off surfaces so they can be rinsed away with water. Cleaning with a detergent is necessary to remove dirt that can prevent disinfectants from working.

How long does it take for MRSA to get into bloodstream? ›

The incubation period for MRSA ranges from one to 10 days.

MRSA is a contagious skin infection that spreads easily through skin-to-skin contact or indirectly from person to person.

What soap is good for MRSA? ›

Antibacterial chlorhexidine soap

Either in the bath or shower, apply the chlorhexidine soap directly to a wet washcloth. This keeps the solution from getting diluted.

What soap is good for staph infection? ›

Eliminating Staph From Your Skin
  • Buy Hibiclens or chlorhexidine wash (an antibacterial soap similar to what surgeons scrub with): • Find it in the “first aid” section of the pharmacy. ...
  • Buy Triple Antibiotic ointment (or use the prescription cream that Dr. Minars gave you): ...
  • WHY YOU DO IT:

What detergent kills MRSA? ›

Lysol® kills 99.9% of viruses & bacteria, including MRSA!

What ointment kills MRSA? ›

Mupirocin is a commonly used antibiotic for decolonization of MRSA in carriers and for treatment of skin and soft tissue infections caused by MRSA.

Can MRSA be cured completely? ›

Many people with active infections are treated effectively, and no longer have MRSA. However, sometimes MRSA goes away after treatment and comes back several times. If MRSA infections keep coming back again and again, your doctor can help you figure out the reasons you keep getting them.

How does apple cider vinegar cure MRSA? ›

The minimum dilution of ACV required for growth inhibition was comparable for both bacteria (1/25 dilution of ACV liquid and ACV tablets at 200 µg/ml were effective against rE. coli and MRSA).

Can you get MRSA from a toilet seat? ›

In summary, MRSA can be cultured from toilet seats in a children's hospital despite rigorous daily cleaning. This represents a potential risk to patients who may acquire it by fomite transmission from colonized persons, and represents a potential reservoir for community acquisition.

How long can staph live on bedding? ›

S. aureus, for example, can survive for a week on cotton and two weeks on terry cloth.

What is the difference between staph infection and MRSA? ›

Staph bacteria are usually harmless, but they can cause serious infections that can lead to sepsis or death. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a cause of staph infection that is difficult to treat because of resistance to some antibiotics.

Should I stay home if I have MRSA? ›

If I have MRSA, can I go to work? Unless a healthcare provider says not to, most people with MRSA infections can go to work.

Can you get MRSA by touching someone? ›

MRSA is spread by contact. So, you could get MRSA by touching another person who has it on the skin. Or you could get it by touching objects that have the bacteria on them. MRSA is carried by about 2% of the population (or 2 in 100 people), although most of them aren't infected.

Can you get MRSA from kissing? ›

The risk of spreading MRSA through contact (touching, hugging, kissing) is low.

Should I go to the ER for MRSA? ›

Seek emergency medical treatment at the first sign of a MRSA infection. You may notice these symptoms after a break in your skin from a cut, scrape or surgical incision. MRSA is a communicable disease, meaning it is spread from one person to another.

How do you know if staph is in your blood? ›

Also known as a bloodstream infection, bacteremia occurs when staph bacteria enter the bloodstream. A fever and low blood pressure are signs of bacteremia.

What are the chances of surviving a MRSA infection? ›

They found the mortality rate among participants without MRSA was about 18%, but among those with colonized MRSA, the mortality rate was 36%.

Can MRSA live on clothes? ›

MRSA can spread on laundry like sheets, towels, and clothing. Keep laundry clean to prevent MRSA from spreading. Routine laundry procedures, detergents, and laundry additives will all help to make clothes, towels, and linens safe to wear or touch.

How long can MRSA live on toilet seats? ›

One of its common symptoms is diarrhea. Staphylococcus. Also called staph, this bacterium can linger on surfaces like toilet seats and pass from one person to the next. One type, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), can survive on surfaces for as long as three months.

Can you take a bath with staph infection? ›

Take a bath or shower often, be sure to use soap to clean your body while showering or bathing. Do not share towels, wash cloths, razors, or other personal items.

Does MRSA cause tiredness? ›

If the MRSA germs enter your bloodstream, it may lead to other problems. These include: Fever. Tiredness (fatigue)

What are the long term effects of MRSA? ›

Infections of the skin or other soft tissues by the hard-to-treat MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria appear to permanently compromise the lymphatic system, which is crucial to immune system function.

How do you know if a staph infection is spreading? ›

If the sore becomes unusually painful or red, get prompt medical attention. If red lines develop, that's a sign the infection is spreading and needs immediate medical attention.

How do you shower with MRSA? ›

Shower using Hibiclens 2 times a week. Lather Hibiclens on all areas of skin, including scalp. (Being careful to avoid eye area) Leave lather on for 5-10 minutes and rinse. Wash all towels, sheets, clothing etc… of the infected person separately after they have contact with those items.

Can staph live on a bar of soap? ›

No. Bar soap does not appear to transmit disease. The most rigorous study of this question was published in 1965. Scientists conducted a series of experiments in which they intentionally contaminated their hands with about five billion bacteria.

What kills staph on skin? ›

Antibiotics commonly prescribed to treat staph infections include cefazolin, nafcillin, oxacillin, vancomycin, daptomycin and linezolid. For serious staph infections, vancomycin may be required. This is because so many strains of staph bacteria have become resistant to other traditional antibiotics.

Can staph live in washing machine? ›

However, Staphylococcus aureus (also known as MRSA) has the potential to live in washing machines, as well as other parts of the home. It can cause impetigo (a highly contagious bacterial skin infection) and other types of rashes and is antibiotic resistant, Tetro points out.

Should I clean my staph infection? ›

Most small staph skin infections can be treated at home: Soak the affected area in warm water or apply warm, moist washcloths. Use a cloth or towel only once when you soak or clean an area of infected skin. Then, wash them in soap and hot water and dry them fully in a clothes dryer.

Can you put rubbing alcohol on a staph infection? ›

Rubbing alcohol is good for killing bacteria such as E. coli and staph. Rubbing alcohol can kill them within 10 seconds.

What kills staph in laundry? ›

To kill the germs in your laundry, wash your clothes on the hot cycle, then put everything in the dryer for 45 minutes. Wash whites with bleach, and use peroxide or color-safe bleach for colors. Do your laundry in water that's at least 140 F to kill any viruses or bacteria.

Can poor hygiene cause MRSA? ›

HOW IS MRSA SPREAD? MRSA is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with items that have touched infected skin (e.g. towels, razors, uniforms and athletic equipment). Poor hygiene practices help facilitate the spread of the bacteria.

Can I use hydrogen peroxide on a staph infection? ›

Hydrogen peroxide and sodium hypochlorite disinfectants are more effective against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms than quaternary ammonium compounds.

Is Neosporin good for MRSA? ›

Sept. 14, 2011 -- MRSA is also sometimes resistant to antibiotics found in over-the-counter ointments like Neosporin and Polysporin, a study shows.

What is the best antibiotic for MRSA? ›

Vancomycin or daptomycin are the agents of choice for treatment of invasive MRSA infections [1]. Alternative agents that may be used for second-line or salvage therapy include telavancin, ceftaroline, and linezolid. Recent studies of treatment of MRSA bacteremia are reviewed.

Can you put lotion on a staph infection? ›

DEALING WITH STAPH OR MRSA SKIN INFECTIONS:

Always use an unscented moisturizer on your body to prevent dry skin. During these times you can use cleanser around the wound areas if your body's skin becomes too dry or irritated.

What is the main cause of MRSA infection? ›

MRSA is usually spread in the community by contact with infected people or things that are carrying the bacteria. This includes through contact with a contaminated wound or by sharing personal items, such as towels or razors, that have touched infected skin.

What are the first signs of MRSA? ›

MRSA infections start out as small red bumps that can quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses. Staph skin infections, including MRSA , generally start as swollen, painful red bumps that might look like pimples or spider bites.

Can MRSA come back? ›

Yes. A Staph or MRSA skin infection may come back after it is cured. To prevent this from happening, follow your health care provider's directions while you have the infection, and practice the hygiene steps described below. 8.

How long is a person contagious with MRSA? ›

Typically 4–10 days Contagious Period As long as the bacteria are present in nose, throat and mouth secretions. Do not squeeze or “pop” boils or pimples. Cover with a clean, dry bandage and refer to a health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.

Can turmeric cure staph? ›

Turmeric: Turmeric is an excellent antibiotic and anti-inflammatory food product effective in curbing staph infection. A tonic made of turmeric powder mixed with black pepper, water and coconut oil taken several times a day is helpful in curing the infection.

What is a natural antibiotic? ›

Option 1: Honey

Honey is one the oldest known antibiotics, tracing back to ancient times. Egyptians frequently used honey as a natural antibiotic and skin protectant. Honey contains hydrogen peroxide , which may account for some of its antibacterial properties.

How do you know if MRSA has gotten into your bloodstream? ›

Your doctor may take a sample from your infected skin, nose, blood, urine or saliva and send it to the lab. This test sample is called a “culture”. If the lab finds MRSA in the test sample, the test is positive; this means that you have MRSA in or on your body.

Will MRSA go away on its own? ›

Will this go away? The MRSA might go away on its own. However, your doctor may order a special antibiotic cream to be put into your nose and on any wounds you might have. It is important that you apply this cream as prescribed for the recommended number of days.

How long does it take for MRSA to get into bloodstream? ›

The incubation period for MRSA ranges from one to 10 days.

MRSA is a contagious skin infection that spreads easily through skin-to-skin contact or indirectly from person to person.

What are the symptoms of internal MRSA? ›

Symptoms of a serious MRSA infection in the blood or deep tissues may include:
  • a fever of 100.4°F or higher.
  • chills.
  • malaise.
  • dizziness.
  • confusion.
  • muscle pain.
  • swelling and tenderness in the affected body part.
  • chest pain.
27 Jan 2020

How do you get MRSA out of your house? ›

Cleaners or detergents are products that remove soil, dirt, dust, organic matter, and germs (like bacteria, viruses, and fungi). They lift dirt and germs off surfaces so they can be rinsed away with water. Cleaning with a detergent is necessary to remove dirt that can prevent disinfectants from working.

What are the chances of surviving a MRSA infection? ›

They found the mortality rate among participants without MRSA was about 18%, but among those with colonized MRSA, the mortality rate was 36%.

How long can staph live on bedding? ›

S. aureus, for example, can survive for a week on cotton and two weeks on terry cloth.

What is the difference between staph and MRSA? ›

MRSA and Staph

The difference between the two is that MRSA is more difficult to treat since it is resistant to certain antibiotics. Because the only difference is the antibiotic sensitivity, a typical staph infection is referred to as methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus.

What is the best antibiotic for MRSA? ›

Vancomycin or daptomycin are the agents of choice for treatment of invasive MRSA infections [1]. Alternative agents that may be used for second-line or salvage therapy include telavancin, ceftaroline, and linezolid. Recent studies of treatment of MRSA bacteremia are reviewed.

How do you know if staph is in your blood? ›

Also known as a bloodstream infection, bacteremia occurs when staph bacteria enter the bloodstream. A fever and low blood pressure are signs of bacteremia.

Can you get MRSA from a toilet seat? ›

In summary, MRSA can be cultured from toilet seats in a children's hospital despite rigorous daily cleaning. This represents a potential risk to patients who may acquire it by fomite transmission from colonized persons, and represents a potential reservoir for community acquisition.

Do you have MRSA for life? ›

Will I always have MRSA? Many people with active infections are treated effectively, and no longer have MRSA. However, sometimes MRSA goes away after treatment and comes back several times. If MRSA infections keep coming back again and again, your doctor can help you figure out the reasons you keep getting them.

What organ system is affected by MRSA? ›

Once the staph germ enters the body, it can spread to bones, joints, the blood, or any organ, such as the lungs, heart, or brain. Serious staph infections are more common in people with chronic (long-term) medical problems.

How do you know when a staph infection is serious? ›

You should make an appointment with your doctor if you have: Any suspicious area of red or painful skin. High fever or fever accompanying skin symptoms. Pus-filled blisters.

What happens when MRSA gets in your bloodstream? ›

However, if MRSA gets into your bloodstream, it can cause infections in other organs like your heart, which is called endocarditis. It can also cause sepsis, which is the body's overwhelming response to infection. If these situations occur and they aren't or can't be treated, you can die from MRSA.

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