MRSA Infection (cont.)

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What does a MRSA infection look like?

On the skin, MRSA infection may begin as a reddish rash with lesion(s) that looks like a pimple or small boil. Often it progresses to an open, inflamed area of skin (as pictured below) that may weep pus or drain other similar fluid. In some instances, it may appear as an abscess, a swollen, tender area, often with reddish skin covering. When the abscess is cut open or spontaneously bursts open, pus drains from the area.

What are the risk factors for MRSA infections?

People with higher risk of MRSA infection are those with obvious skin breaks (for example, patients with surgical or traumatic wounds or hospital patients with intravenous lines, burns, or skin ulcers) and people with depressed immune systems (infants, the elderly, or HIV-infected individuals) or those with chronic diseases (diabetes or cancer). People with pneumonia (lung infection) due to MRSA can transmit MRSA by airborne droplets. Health-care workers as a group are repeatedly exposed to MRSA-positive patients and can have a high rate of infection if precautions are not taken. Consequently, health-care workers and patient visitors should use disposable masks, gowns, and gloves when they enter the MRSA-infected patient's room. As long as people, including carriers, have MRSA organisms in wounds or droplets that are shed into the environment, they are contagious. Carriers must be very careful about personal hygiene (especially coughs, itching or scratching skin, and sneezing) as they may be contagious indefinitely.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/11/2013

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