Health Information on MRSA
This page is a part of our efforts to inform our community about a health issue that recently has received considerable attention in the news media and is understandably a concern for parents. A number of school systems in the area have reported cases of students with a bacterial infection of the skin that is resistant to the more common forms of antibiotics. The infection is called Methicillin-Resistant Staph Aureus or MRSA.
The health and welfare of students is critical to our school community. The Health Department has provided the following answers to some commonly asked questions regarding staph infections.
What does a staph infection look like? Staph bacteria can cause skin infections that may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. MRSA lesions are commonly identified as suspected “spider bites.” More serious infections may cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or surgical wound infections.
How is a staph infection spread? Anyone can get a staph infection. Staph is most commonly spread by direct skin to skin contact. Staph also can be spread when an infected person uses and shares items with an uninfected person without cleaning or sanitizing the item first, like sharing towels, soap, razors, or athletic equipment.
How can you prevent a staph infection?
Staph infections can be prevented by practicing good hygiene:
- Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed;
- Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages;
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors; and
- Clean/sanitize objects and surfaces that you share with other persons before you use it, such as athletic equipment.
Early treatment of suspected MRSA is important. If you suspect that your child may have a staph infection, consult your doctor or healthcare provider, as soon as possible. Most staph and MRSA infections are treatable. Early treatment can prevent serious complications. One of the most effective things that we, as parents and educators, can do is to remain calm and positive. Our children need to know that their parents and schools are taking appropriate measures to ensure their health and safety. The following links provide additional information on this topic.
CDC information on MRSA in Schools
Use Your Head for Hygiene Flyer