Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly referred to as MRSA or “staph”, is a bacteria that can lead to serious infection and even death. What makes MRSA so dangerous compared to other strains of bacteria is that MRSA is resistant to the common antibiotics that are usually used to treat staph infections.
MRSA is most commonly found in health care facilities and gyms, but is now becoming more prevalent in child care centers, schools, and dormitories across the country. People who are staying in hospitals and nursing homes for an extended period are especially at risk because they usually have compromised immune systems and MRSA can be spread easily throughout the facility by contact.
Whether young or old, you and your family members may be at risk of contracting MRSA, especially if you are part of a close community environment like a school or dorm, participate in contact sports, frequent gyms and locker rooms, or live or work in a health care facility. Even though these are high-risk areas for MRSA, the following actions can help prevent infection:
Wash your hands. Wash frequently for at least 15 seconds at least a few times per day, especially after close contact with others or with community equipment, such as weight machines or playground equipment.
Avoid sharing toiletries and other personal items. Don’t share things like razors, towels, clothing, gym equipment, or any other items that come into prolonged contact with your skin.
Wash towels and clothes frequently. Wash workout clothes, play clothes, and towels after use and on the “hot” setting if possible.
Protect all wounds. Keep any open wounds tightly bandages and clean your wounds each time you change bandages.
See your doctor. If you have an infected wound or have symptoms of MRSA (see below), contact a doctor immediately. Getting tested early can prevent a more severe infection.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately to determine if you have MRSA:
Raised red bumps on the skin that look like bug bites or pimples
Larger, red abscesses that are painful to the touch
Infected surgical wounds, including redness, tenderness, or pus
While MRSA is becoming more common and is sometimes contracted despite preventative measures taken, it can also be an indicator of negligent treatment and unsanitary conditions. If you or someone you know has contracted MRSA from a health care facility, gym, school, or dorm, you may be entitled to compensation for any resulting illness.
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