How Do You Know If Mrsa Is In Your Bloodstream – Are you bothered by those red, painful bumps on your hands? It should be – it could be a life-threatening MRSA infection.
In this exclusive interview, a top infectious disease doctor reveals what you need to know about antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
How Do You Know If Mrsa Is In Your Bloodstream
The nation’s No. 1 health threat is antibiotic resistance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned in a 2014 report. Antibiotic-dissolving microbes lurk in locker rooms, hospitals, playgrounds and dormitories. They cause 2 million infections and kill at least 23,000 Americans each year, according to the CDC.
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, commonly known as MRSA. It is an infection caused by staph bacteria, but it is resistant to drugs that are commonly used to treat common staph infections. MRSA has been seen in hospitals and nursing homes since the 1960s. But in the late 1990s, a second type of MRSA infection was identified, mostly in children and adults without existing medical conditions. MRSA infection is easy to catch, which has health experts worried.
“MRSA is a serious threat,” says Rekha Murthy, medical director of the Department of Epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “If you get an infection with bacteria that is resistant to all antibiotics, you might be out of luck.” That’s because MRSA patients suffer from sepsis, a deadly blood infection that gets worse quickly. It causes high fever, kidney and liver failure, shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat. Who is at greater risk for MRSA infection, how do you know if you have it and how can you prevent it? Here, Dr. Marty answers your most pressing questions about this medical menace. How do the two types of MRSA infection differ?
The most common is called healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA). It was a major problem in hospitals and nursing homes, where patients with weakened immune systems were vulnerable to infection, and remains to a lesser extent today.
In hospitals, it is acquired from intravenous lines and surgeries when patients are connected to machines such as ventilators and are exposed to hospital workers who carry the bacteria.
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Community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) emerged about 15 years ago in people who had no contact with healthcare facilities. Unlike hospital strains that are resistant to many antibiotics, CA-MRSA is easy to treat. Anyone can get this type – you don’t have to have other health conditions. It spreads through cuts and skin-to-skin contact and can cause pneumonia and severe skin infections. How do people get MRSA infections?
You can get HA-MRSA by coming into contact with contaminated materials in a hospital – bedding, linens, bathroom faucets and medical equipment.
CA-MRSA can spread in [gym locker rooms], dorms, or prisons. It is associated with sharing towels and razors and poor hygiene practices. Think of the athletes with scrapes, cuts and infected wounds using those towels. Bacteria can enter the wounds. You often get it from touching someone with an infected wound [and then] not washing your hands. Or it is spread by touching contaminated surfaces when there is an open wound. Can a pregnant woman with an MRSA infection pass it on to her baby?
Yes, if it is a CA type. It’s common, but women with thigh cysts have passed skin infections to their babies during vaginal births. If you have a skin infection, talk to your doctor and make sure you get the problem resolved before you give birth. Again, it decreases. For good hygiene: Make sure you wear a hospital gown, practice good hand hygiene, and cover areas your baby may be exposed to.
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If you have a previous scratch, it will be red, swollen and painful. Most of these infections do not require treatment with antibiotics; You can put a warm compress on the area and it will go away very quickly. If you don’t have a cut before, the infection looks like a pimple, abscess or cyst – with redness, swelling, pain and pus. You know something is wrong. If you develop a fever or the infection worsens, your doctor will take a sample for a culture [lab test] and give you an antibiotic to protect you until the results are available. Do not drain the boil yourself – you can make it worse. How dangerous are MRSA infections?
MRSA infections can develop rapidly within hours or days. When you see the first symptoms of it – you develop a fever over 101.3, a pulse faster than 90 beats per minute, you are disoriented – see a doctor. What happens if the infection spreads?
If it gets into your bloodstream, you can experience a cascade of reactions that cause your body to fight back so hard that it damages organs. Sepsis [blood poisoning] can damage your body’s soft tissues, such as your muscles, far from the original site of infection.
It can also cause your kidneys to fail. It doesn’t always happen, but if you’re immunocompromised, there’s a higher risk.
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In rare cases, sepsis can lead to death. Even after the infection is under control, you may have an abscess that needs to be surgically removed. Can you have MRSA and not know it?
Yes – 2 out of 100 people are MRSA carriers or ‘colonists’. Even if you don’t have visible symptoms, you can have [MRSA] in your nose or skin Are all types of staph harmful?
No. Up to 30% of healthy, normal people have staph bacteria in their nose or skin. Remember that they are normal, harmless bacteria
Bacteria have been around for a long time. Penicillin was developed [in England in the 1930s] to fight infections caused by that bacterium. But soon after it came out, it was discovered that some bacteria were resistant to penicillin. That question is more troubling today.
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Increasingly, bacteria can become resistant to the effects of antibiotics because some people take [the drugs] too often and when they are not needed. Bacteria change and drugs can no longer cure infections.
[Editor’s note: According to the CDC, germs evolve and multiply, spreading to family members and the community. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are especially dangerous for children and the elderly.]
Typically, people who are in the hospital or other health care setting and have other health conditions that make them sick—for example, they are connected to an IV, use a ventilator or urinary catheter, or have had surgery. HA-MRSA carries the highest risk. You are at increased risk for CA-MRSA if you participate in contact sports or are in the military. Men who have sex with men are also at increased risk. If you have a cut, be sure to clean the skin to prevent infection; Bacteria from your skin can enter the wound. Just having this bacteria on your skin or nose increases your risk of infection.
[Editor’s note: According to the Center for Epidemiology, Economics, and Policy, overall MRSA rates fell 31% between 2005 and 2011, thanks to an increased focus on staph infection prevention, hand hygiene, and improved hospital safety. The largest reductions (54%) are among hospital-acquired infections. But the problem is still widespread in other healthcare facilities.]
Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (mrsa)
First, doctors look for the source of the infection; We find out where the problem started – for example, an abscess. We’ll do an x-ray or blood culture to make sure it hasn’t spread beyond the wound. Then we decide if you need antibiotic treatment – if it’s a small boil, maybe not. We make sure that the infected area is clean. MRSA is resistant to some antibiotics [such as erythromycin, clindamycin, fluoroquinolones, and rifampin]. Vancomycin is the drug of choice for most MRSA infections, especially if the patient has a life-threatening one, [because the bacteria have not developed much resistance to it].
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Often, small staph infections can be successfully cleared. But in severe cases, stronger drugs may be needed. See your healthcare provider if you have any symptoms of a staph infection. On your skin, these include red, inflamed, and painful sores that may contain pus.
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Healthcare providers prescribe antibiotics to treat staph infections. In severe cases, staph infection can lead to serious health complications and death.
Different types of staph bacteria cause problems in different parts of your body. Staphylococcal infection affects:
There are millions of staph skin infections in the United States each year. Most of them are mild and can be treated with antibiotics. Even if you are healthy,
Bacteria usually live on your nose or skin. Bacteria can cause problems if they enter your body. When they do, they create thousands of serious cases
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Although anyone can get a staph infection, some people are more at risk than others. People who work in hospitals are more likely to develop skin bacteria. Staphylococcus infections are often caused by:
Children often get staph infections
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