I am still behind on my A to Z Challenge. It is a challenge getting these up on time. Well, here it is, ‘M’. Today the discussion is about Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, usually referred to as (MRSA). There is not a lot of material written about children with MRSA, nor have there been many studies or tracking done for them. There is much more information written about adults who contract this Superbug (any disease-causing bacteria that develop a resistance to antibiotics that are normally used to control or eradicate them.) Staphylococcus Aureus is a common bacteria that lives on our skin and is not usually harmful, especially in healthy children. If they are chronically ill, their immune system may be weakened, they are in the hospital often, and are more susceptible to acquiring MRSA.
Methicillin was introduced in 1959 to treat penicillin-resistant S. aureus infections in England. The staph bacteria had evolved to survive the antibiotic that was killing them off. It was not long before strains of S. aureus had mutated again and became resistant to methicillin. The first out break of MRSA in the United States was in 1968 and increased steadily until it became recognized as an endemic pathogen. By 1997, more than 50% of patient infections in hospitals were attributed to MRSA. It became known as Healthcare-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or HA-MRSA. It is a potentially deadly strain of Staph aureus that is resistant to several antibiotics. Many patients in hospitals are carriers of HA_MRSA, but do not have any symptoms. My son, Alex, was a carrier. The transmission of the bacteria comes when the healthcare workers’ hands touch other patients who are the carriers and fail to wash their hands. The other causes of transmission are open wounds, catheters,or breathing tubes.
MRSA infection may develop around open sores like cuts, scrapes, or bites. It can also appear on intact skin. It may appear to be a red, swollen, painful bump that may weep fluid or pus. Some children develop a fever and warmth around the affected area. If these symptoms are not treated, the infection can spread to the blood. This may cause severe complications. The infected blood moves through the body affecting the bones, joints, heart valves, lungs and may lead to organ failure. The MRSA symptoms at this point may be chills, persistent cough and a fever. Those at a particular risk for acquiring MRSA are: Children or adults with weakened immune systems, and individuals who live and work in care centers, such as day care center, jails, and retirement homes. There is a growing number of infections among athletes, students and the military without being exposed to healthcare. These strains of MRSA are called: Community Acquired (CA-MRSA).
Fortunately the spread of these methicillin-resistant bacteria can be limited with good hygiene practices:
1. Wash hands often – Teach children to wash their hands frequently, and if water and soap is not available they should use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
2. Use bandages when needed. Keep sores and cuts covered until they have healed.
3. Teach children not to touch sores.
4. Teach children to be careful around hospitalized individuals.
5. Teach student athletes prevention tips, such as: Shower immediately after a competition or practice, keep equipment, supplies and uniforms clean after each use, Do not participate in contact sports if they have a wound that is open or bleeding.
6. When given antibiotics, it is important to finish the whole course of treatment, even if the infection seems to be getting better.
1. Kid’s Health- Parents-Infections-MRSA
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