MRSA is a strain of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) bacteria. S. aureus is a common type of bacteria that normally live on the skin and sometimes in the nasal passages of healthy people. MRSA refers to S. aureus strains that do not respond to some of the antibiotics used to treat staph infections.The bacteria can cause infection when they enter the body through a cut, sore, catheter, or breathing tube. The infection can be minor and local (for example, a pimple), or more serious (involving the heart, lung, blood, or bone)
Staph skin infections cause a red, swollen, and painful area on the skin. Other symptoms may include:
- Drainage of pus or other fluids from the site
- Skin abscess
- Warmth around the infected area
Symptoms of a more serious staph infection may include:
- Chest pain
- General ill feeling (malaise)
- Muscle aches
- Shortness of breath
Careful attention to personal hygiene is key to avoiding MRSA infections.
- Wash your hands frequently, especially if visiting someone in a hospital or long-term care facility.
- Make sure all doctors, nurses, and other health care providers wash their hands before examining you.
- Do not share personal items such as towels or razors with another person -- MRSA can be transmitted through contaminated items.
- Cover all wounds with a clean bandage, and avoid contact with other people’s soiled bandages.
- If you share sporting equipment, clean it first with antiseptic solution.
- Avoid common whirlpools or saunas if another participant has an open sore.
- Make sure that shared bathing facilities are clean.