MRSA is a form of staph infection that is highly resistant to the usual spectrum of antibiotics we use to treat bacterial infections. It kills over 19,000 people a year and is considered a new superbug. The question for many people is whether they are at risk for it?
What is MRSA? It is a strain of staph infection that has evolved over the years to be non-responsive to antibiotics that kill “normal” staph infection. That being said, it is vital to understand most of us have the general form of staph infection on our bodies or in our noses. It is a much smaller percentage that has the deadly MRSA variation.
MRSA breaks down into two general classifications – community and healthcare associated. In practical terms, this classification refers to where the superbug is most often to result in patient cases. Community outbreaks tend to be in areas where people congregate and exercise such as gyms and the like. Healthcare outbreaks tend to be in facilities where patients are already at a reduced state of health such a hospitals and nursing homes. The risk factors for each classification differ.
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If you find yourself in hospitals or care facilities, you need to be concerned about MRSA. It is present in most care locations, but is often wiped out through sterility efforts. Still, it is believed roughly 4 percent of individuals hospitalized come into contact with MRSA at one point or another during their time in the facility. If you were in ill health during this contact, you are at risk. If you were under the age of 10, you are at risk. If you underwent any kind of invasive procedure, you are at risk. It is rather ironic that medical facilities are one of the more dangerous places to be!
Community outbreaks come with different risk factors. Again, the focus is on contact with the bacteria. If you work out in gyms, you are at risk. If you play competitive sports, you are at risk as the problems with NFL players shows. If you are using towels or the same clothing, such as uniforms, then you are at risk. If you’ve been in a bunk situation or prison, you are also heavily at risk.
There are a couple keys to avoiding a MRSA infection. First, keep yourself in good health. Second, take practical steps to avoid areas that might be highly infectious.
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