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MRSA...Do you know the facts???

What do you know about MRSA??

What is MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)?
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Some staph bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. MRSA is a type of staph that is resistant to antibiotics called beta-lactams. Beta-lactam antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. While 25% to 30% of the population is colonized with staph, approximately 1% is colonized with MRSA.
What type of infections does MRSA cause?
In the community most MRSA infections are skin infections that may appear as pustules or boils that often are red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. These skin infections commonly occur at sites of visible skin trauma, such as cuts and abrasions, and areas of the body covered by hair (e.g., back of neck, groin, buttock, armpit, beard area of men).  Almost all MRSA skin infections can be effectively treated by drainage of pus with or without antibiotics (also known as antimicrobials or antibiotics). More serious infections, such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or bone infections, are very rare in healthy people who get MRSA skin infections.
How is MRSA spread?  
MRSA is usually transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with shared items or surfaces that have come into contact with someone else’s infection (i.e. towels and razors).

Is there anything I can personally do to prevent MRSA?  
Good hygiene is one of the best tools in preventing MRSA.  For example, wash your hands at every opportunity using soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and shower immediately after participating in sports activities.  
Additionally, if you have a skin abrasion or cut, keep it covered with a clean dry bandage until healed.  Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors that come into contact with bare skin and use a barrier between your skin and shared equipment such as weight-training benches (such as a towel).  If you have a skin abrasion that does not seem to be getting better, is getting worse, is accompanied by a fever, or if you are at all concerned, contact your healthcare provider.

Will handwashing prevent only MRSA?  
Handwashing is a key tool in preventing many infections, including MRSA, but also influenza, colds, stomach viruses, and other infections and diseases.  As cold and flu season begins, it is particularly important to remember to wash hands as often as possible.  If you are not able to wash hands at a sink and there is no visible dirt on your hands, alcohol-based cleansers are effective at disinfecting hands.
Should students with MRSA skin infections be excluded from attending school?  
Unless directed by a physician, students with RMSA infections should not be excluded from attending school.  Exclusion from school should be limited to those who cannot cover their wounds.  Students with active infections should cover their wounds with clean, dry bandages and should be excluded from activities where skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur (i.e. sports) until their infections are healed. 
Are we required to report MRSA cases to our public health entity?  State laws on reporting MRSA and other diseases vary by state.  Consult your public health department for more information. 
I am planning a visit to a college.  Should I be concerned about a MRSA outbreak on the college campus?  Again, practice good hygiene to avoid contracting MRSA or other infections.  Be sure not to share any items that touch anyone else’s skin, such as towels or razors and wash hands as frequently as possible.
Where can I learn more about MRSA?  
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Frequently Asked Questions for the Community:<>
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Questions and Answers about MRSA in Schools:<>   (More links available on MRSA in schools from this site)
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