With MRSA being so prevalent in the news lately, many people are worried about coming down with the disease. Unfortunately, almost anyone can be at risk, since MRSA has made its way out of hospitals and into the general population. If you are in one of the high risk groups for contacting MRSA, here is a look at the symptoms you should look out for.
However, there are not just one or two symptoms that definitively define MRSA. The symptoms of MRSA can vary greatly depending on where in the body the infection occurs. This is why it is so important to see your primary care physician if you suspect an infection.
Common sites of MRSA infections include:
- Surgical wounds from recent surgeries
- Burns (especially second and third degree burns)
- Catheter sites from both urinary and blood catheters
- The eyes
- The skin
- In the blood
About a third of the population carries MRSA bacteria on their skin without having an infection, so it is relatively common. However, if it gets into a wound, it can cause everything from urinary tract infections to septicemia to toxic shock and, in some cases, death.
The sooner you are diagnosed with MRSA, the sooner you can get treatment. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances are of being able to treat and cure the infection. Because MRSA is so resistant to commonly used antibiotics, allowing it to develop into a severe infection can make it much more difficult to fight.
You can be a carrier of MRSA for years and never know it, since carriers will often experience no symptoms. MRSA can colonize on your skin or in your nose and stay there for years. However, get an injury in that area and the MRSA bacteria will be allowed to enter your skin and start an infection.
Common symptoms include:
- Red, warm, swollen, or tender skin, as well as boils or blisters
Irritation common to what you would expect from a spider bite
Chills or fever, nausea, and acute pain
Lethargy or headache.
If you have had surgery requiring a cast, you may not be able to see redness and swelling or other irritations. If you have more pain than is expected after your procedure, call your primary care physician right away.
More Edication Needed
The problem with community-acquired MRSA is that so many people are not aware of the risks and symptoms associated with MRSA, both in the medical community and the general community at large. In the past, doctors have treated staph infections with over-the-counter antibiotic ointments or a prescription course of antibiotic treatments.
Cultures were not routinely done to identify which bacteria it was and what its sensitivities were unless they were unable to cure the infection using a standard course of antibiotics. However, because of the resistance of MRSA, these traditional treatment options often fail. This can cause many patients to need to be hospitalized unnecessarily, and has even lead to death in a few cases.
Keep in mind that the symptoms of MRSA can mimic other, less dangerous infections. Always consult your doctor if you have any concerns regarding your risk of infection.