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Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus -- MRSA

11/15/2007

From Thatcher Brook Primary School newsletter to parents

Due to recent news reports and a heightened awareness of MRSA infections in the general population, the WWSU school nurses are providing information on this topic to their respective school communities. The following information (collected from the Vermont Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control) should serve as a source of information and a guide to prevention.

What you should know about Staph and MRSA

Staph: Staphylococcus aureus (known as staph) is a very common bacterium that can live on the skin or in the noses of healthy people.

Staph is a common cause of skin lesions, including pimples and boils.

Staph can sometimes lead to more serious infections in the skin and other sites on the body.

Some staph infections are harder to treat because the bacteria have become resistant over time to the antibiotics usually used to treat these infections.

MRSA: MRSA is a type of staph infection that has become resistant to some antibiotics.

MRSA infections can be mild or very serious.

MRSA infections are preventable and treatable.
 
How Staph and MRSA infections are spread

Both of these infections are spread through breaks in the skin, by skin-to-skin contact, or less often by touching surfaces that have the bacteria on them.
 
Prevention and Treatment

Simple measures can be taken to prevent infections:

Wash hands often and well or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Shower after exercise.

Cover cuts, scrapes and wounds with bandages until healed.

Don't share personal items such as razors, towels or other objects that could pass bacteria from one person to another.

Place barriers between skin and shared equipment like weight-lifting benches and sanitize frequently touched surfaces.

If you have an infected wound, see your medical care provider. MRSA can only be diagnosed through a laboratory test.

MRSA infections are treatable. Treatment depends on the site of infection and the severity of the infection.  Not all infections require oral antibiotics.
 
MRSA in the community is different than in a health care setting.

MRSA is rarely serious when contracted in the community setting, where it typically appears as an easily treatable skin infection.

MRSA acquired in the hospital or health care setting is a different strain and more serious than MRSA acquired in the community.

MRSA infections can be life threatening to older people and those with weakened immune systems.

Patients in hospitals, nursing homes and health care facilities such as dialysis centers are most at risk for serious infection when open wounds, burns or tubes inserted in their bodies provide a pathway for infection to be carried through the bloodstream and internal organs.

Information for parents

MRSA is rarely serious when acquired in the community. It is treatable and, like other bacterial infections, simple precautions will help prevent infection.
 
Clean wounds and cover them with a clean, dry bandage. Wounds that do not heal properly need medical attention.

Teach children to wash their hands regularly, such as before eating and after toileting.

Be sure family members use antibiotics properly. Take all that are prescribed, even if the symptoms stop before the prescription is used up. Do not share prescriptions.

Children should not share equipment, clothing, towels or other personal items.

Wash clothes and towels in hot water and detergent.
 
The following websites can provide additional information:


http://www.cdc.gov/Features/MRSAinSchools/
http://www.cdc.gov/cleanhands/
http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/MRSA.aspx

 

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