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MRSA: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is a type of bacteria that can cause a staph infection. But it cannot be killed by the antibiotic methicillin and some other antibiotics. This sometimes makes it harder to treat.

The bacteria are widespread on skin and in the nose. MRSA can cause infections of the skin, heart, blood, and bones. The bacteria can spread quickly in the body and cause serious problems. MRSA can also be spread from person to person.

Depending on how serious your infection is, the doctor may drain your wound and you may get antibiotics through a small tube placed in a vein (I.V.). Your doctor may also give you an antibiotic ointment to use on sores or in your nose.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your antibiotics as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Keep any cuts or other wounds covered while they heal.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after touching elastic bandages or other dressings over a wound. This can keep the bacteria from spreading. Wrap bandages in a plastic bag before you throw them away.
  • Do not share towels, face cloths, razors, clothing, or other items that touched your wound or bandage. Wash your sheets, towels, and clothes with warm water and detergent. Dry them in a hot dryer, if possible.
  • Keep shared areas clean by wiping down surfaces (such as countertops, doorknobs, and light switches) with a disinfectant.
  • Learn more about MRSA and how it spreads.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have worse symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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