How to Detect MRSA-Infected Wounds

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MRSA is the acronym used for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. This kind of staph bacteria can be resistant to some antibiotics known as beta-lacams. Amoxicillin, methicillin and penicillin are antibiotics that belong to this drug class. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that MRSA is a common skin infection that can affect wounds, especially surgical wound sites. MRSA infections are not only very contagious but also potentially fatal if left untreated. Because this type of staph infection can cause life-threatening complications, it is important to know its symptoms to detect MRSA-infected wounds.

  • Recognize the first symptoms of an MRSA infection in an injury or wound site. Check for a bump, blister or pimple around a wound, like an open cut. If it is a surgical incision, you should see that it is healing properly. Staph bacteria can enter through these sites.

  • Examine the bumps or pimples at the wound site to detect MRSA infections. If these bumps are inflamed, cause pain, look red, feel warm or contain pus, then you may have a staph infection. Another symptom may be a fever. Check a surgical wound site for any types of abnormal fluid discharge or an abscess.

  • Check for secondary symptoms of a seriously infected wound. Some telltale signs may be chills, muscle aches, problems breathing, chest pain or a rash.

  • See your doctor or surgeon and have the injury, wound or surgical incision examined as soon as possible. If left untreated, this skin infection can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia, blood infection, or toxic shock syndrome. Tests may be necessary to confirm and diagnose an MRSA wound infection.

  • Follow the doctor's recommendation and get tested promptly. This may require taking a culture sample of the wound or fluid discharge. Depending on the symptoms, a doctor can also order sputum, blood and urine tests. If the diagnosis is an MRSA infection, then treatment might only involve the drainage of the abscess when it is a minor infection. However, some MRSA-infected wounds may be troublesome to treat, and may require stronger antibiotics. Other more complicated cases may need treatment at a hospital.

  • Check that the wound is healing properly after treatment, and return to your doctor if new symptoms arise or the wound site gets worse.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prevent the recurrence or spread of an MRSA infection by keeping the wound covered completely. Wash your hands thoroughly with a sanitizer, or use soap and water after changing bandages.

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