When Monte Reyes first noticed a small sore on his lip under his mustache, he brushed it off as a pimple or ingrown hair. Less than a week later, he was in the Sierra View District Hospital emergency room in pain and with half of his face swollen.
Reyes of Imagine Community Arts Center, had contracted Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, more commonly referred to as MRSA.
Reyes is not someone you would think would be a candidate for a serious and potentially deadly staph infection. He is relatively young, practices good hygiene – he is a licensed cosmetologist – and takes pretty good care of himself. But, with MRSA in the community, anyone can be a victim. Just ask Reyes.
It was the morning of Aug. 10 that he noticed the bump on his lip. “I didn’t know what it was. I felt fine otherwise.”
As the day wore on it got worse, but more like a pimple. “Of course, I kind of messed with it. That’s when everything went wrong.”
MRSA is highly contagious and one thing you should not do if a sore develops is to pick at it or attempt to treat it yourself. For many, it feels and looks like a bad spider bite.
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“It has many forms the way it can appear,” said Donna Davis, director of the Sierra View Emergency Room. Most common is people think they have a spider bite. If they didn’t see a spider, we immediately begin looking at other causes,” she said.
Hospital officials said they have not seen a lot of cases, so Reyes’ case is rare. But, they know that the staph strain is out in the community and anyone is susceptible if conditions are right. The most common way to get it is through an open wound. Many people have the staph in their systems, but it has not manifested itself because their immune system is keeping it in check.
“MRSA is more like a disease of opportunity. You’re going to see it throughout the community,” said Davis.
By the next day, Reyes knew he had something more than an ingrown hair or pimple. He thought it was a spider bite. The swelling of his face spread.
By Friday, his upper lip had swelled quite a bit and his pain worsened. That next morning he went to Family HealthCare Network where he regularly goes for health care. He told the care providers there he thought it was a spider bite and they treated him for that, but told him if it got worse to go to the emergency room.
He felt a little better that day and the swelling actually went down a bit, but then it came back “more aggressively” Sunday
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