MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is a type of bacteria that can cause a staph infection.
Staph bacteria normally live on your skin and in your nose, usually without causing problems. Sometimes the bacteria cause infection. Usually you can treat this infection with antibiotics.
But MRSA infections are harder to treat than other staph infections. This is because antibiotics may not be able to kill MRSA. For some people, especially those who are weak or ill, MRSA infections can become serious.
MRSA can spread from person to person. It is commonly spread from the hands of someone who has MRSA. This could be anyone in a health care setting or in the community.
MRSA is more likely to develop when antibiotics are used too often or aren't used the right way. Over time, bacteria can change so that these antibiotics no longer work well.
Symptoms of a MRSA infection depend on where the infection is:
The doctor will take a sample of your infected wound or take a blood or urine sample. The sample is tested to see if antibiotics can kill the bacteria. This test may take several days.
You may also be tested to see if you are a MRSA carrier. A carrier is a person who has the bacteria on his or her skin but who isn't sick. The doctor will take a swab from the inside of your nose for this test.
Your doctor may:
You may have to stay in the hospital for treatment. In the hospital, you may be kept apart from others to reduce the chances of spreading the bacteria.
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 call line 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.
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Current as of: March 3, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
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